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Houston surveys destruction from deadly storms and races to restore power as Southeast and Gulf Coast face flood threat


As authorities assess the damage from destructive Houston-area storms that killed at least seven people and knocked out power amid rising temperatures, residents across the Southeast and Gulf Coast are facing a serious weather threat until Saturday which could lead to another round of excessive precipitation and serious consequences. thunderstorms.

A complex of storms with winds up to 100 mph and a tornado left a trail of destruction in the Houston area Thursday that damaged several skyscrapers and triggered power outages that could extend for weeks in a context of high temperatures.

At least four people died from the storm in Houston, including two killed by falling trees and a third in a crane accident, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said Thursday.

David J. Phillip/AP

A man walks through fallen bricks from a damaged building following a severe storm Friday in Houston.

Three more storm-related deaths were reported in Harris County Friday evening. A man collapsed while trying to move a fallen utility pole, and a woman died after lightning struck the trailer she was in and started a fire, the Harris County sheriff said. Ed Gonzalez, in an article on X. Gonzalez said another victim may have lost power. went to his truck to hook up his oxygen tank and was found unconscious Friday morning.

“Heartbreaking! My condolences go out to the families who lost a loved one during yesterday’s severe weather events,” Gonzalez said.

The devastating storms will be followed by high temperatures in the 90s through the weekend and beyond, while many people will be without air conditioning.

More than 531,000 Harris County customers remain without power Saturday morning following the line of storms, according to Officials warned that restoring power to all customers would be a lengthy process.

David J. Phillip/AP

Downed power lines are visible following a severe thunderstorm Friday in Cypress, Texas, near Houston.

CenterPoint Energy – the region’s main electricity provider – said the storm system caused “significant damage to the company’s electrical transmission and distribution systems.” Thousands of workers are being deployed to help with restoration efforts, the company said.

With the heat increasing, the city of Houston opened cooling centers for residents on Friday, officials said in a news release. The heat index, which measures how the body actually feels, could reach triple digits by next week, increasing health risks from the deadliest weather threat.

“The weather pattern shifts toward a warm, dry pattern beginning Saturday, so it will be important to have a way to stay cool,” the National Weather Service warned Friday.

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Houston Mayor John Whitmire, who signed a local state of disaster declaration for the city on Friday, toured downtown and said “the devastation is significant.”

“We urge everyone to stay away from the area for your safety and to allow public works personnel to do their vital work,” Whitmire said.

The weather service classified the line of severe storms that moved across Texas and Louisiana on Thursday as a derecho, a potentially destructive weather event characterized by widespread wind damage associated with a long-lasting line of thunderstorms.

Derechos have consistent wind gusts of 58 mph or more along a path of at least 400 miles, as well as several well-separated wind gusts over 75 mph. The determination was made based on the length and intensity of the journey.

Logan Riely/Getty Images

A home is severely damaged by a fallen tree after high winds and rain ravaged the Houston, Texas, area on Friday.

Further flash flooding and damaging wind gusts are possible Saturday

Excessive precipitation and the risk of severe thunderstorms will persist in parts of the Southeast through Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

From the southeast to north-central Gulf of Mexico, new developing thunderstorms could bring more flash flooding and damaging wind gusts Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

A slight risk for Level 2 of 5 severe thunderstorms was issued Saturday for parts of the Southeast up to the Carolinas, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

“Isolated to scattered severe thunderstorms appear possible Saturday in parts of the Southeast and the Carolinas, as well as parts of the Upper Midwest,” the center said. “Damaging winds are expected to be the main threat, but occasional large hail and a tornado or two may also occur. »

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A slight risk of Level 2 of 4 excessive precipitation was also issued Saturday for a portion of the northern Gulf Coast due to the threat of flash, urban and river flooding, the weather service said.

Heavy rain is also expected to continue through Saturday in the mid-Atlantic and central Appalachians, where flash flooding could occur.

On Sunday, thunderstorms are expected to form over the Central High Plains and spread eastward in the evening. The highest chances of severe weather are in parts of Nebraska and Kansas, with a slight risk of severe thunderstorms level 2 out of 5 issued by the Storm Prediction Center.

“Large hail and damaging gusts will be the main dangers, although one or two tornadoes will also be possible,” the center said.

By the end of the weekend, the chance of thunderstorms will diminish across much of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, the weather service said.

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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