Houston Power Outages Could Linger For Weeks | Weather.com (2024)

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Weather News At a Glance

Weather News

By Renee Straker, Jan Wesner Childs

2 hours ago

Houston Power Outages Could Linger For Weeks | Weather.com (1)

At a Glance

  • Hundreds of thousands were still without power Sunday morning.
  • Ten power transmission lines were knocked down in the Houston area.
  • Temperatures are expected to soar through the beginning of the week.

At least seven deaths are now connected to the derecho that swept through Houston Thursday, as worries mount over extended power outages and rising temperatures.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced Friday night three deaths in the county. Mary Benton, a spokesperson for the mayor, previously told weather.com that four people were killed in the city of Houston.

A double disaster could be brewing.

"Temperatures in Houston will surpass 90 degrees this weekend and into the week ahead," weather.com digital meteorologist Jonathan Belles said Friday. "Following recent rainfall and lingering moisture, it will feel more like the upper 90s to near 100 degrees during the afternoon. This combination of summer-like heat and humidity and the lack of air conditioning could cause heat exhaustion and other heat-related conditions."

(​MORE: The Deadly Combination Of Power Outages And Heat)

T​he weather could be especially dangerous for those who exert themselves during clean up or people who have nowhere to go to cool off.

The storms led to widespread destruction. The White House approved a federal disaster declaration for several counties, making them eligible for federal aid.

M​ore than 365,000 homes, business and other utility customers remained without power Sunday morning in Texas, according to PowerOutage.us. Nearly all of those were in Harris County, where Houston is located. Each utility account can include multiple people in a home or other living arrangement, meaning hundreds of thousands are likely impacted.

Residents in some areas were warned to brace for extended power outages due to damage to 10 major power transmission lines.

“If you are tied into the transmission lines that fell, those huge towers, that can take weeks (to restore)," H​arris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top county official, said at a Friday morning news conference. "There are some people in the county that are going to have to go weeks without power.”

H​arris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a social media update that one damaged line was affecting 115,000 utility customers.

S​ome 2,500 traffic lights went out in the city, presenting a danger to drivers. Mayor John Whitmire said at the news conference that 4,000 additional power company personnel were headed to the area.

(​MORE: Generators Can Be Deadly If Used Improperly – Here's How to Stay Safe)

At least two of the people in Houston were killed by falling trees and another one died in a crane accident.

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"How does anyone feel in this situation? ... It just shows you how short and precious life is, really. Anything can happen in a moment," Houston resident Jeannette Rubalcava told KHOU-TV.

Rubalcava lives next door to a home where one of the victims was killed. She and her fiance rushed to help, and then flagged down a fire truck driving by.

Friday afternoon, the National Weather service said the storm was a derecho, based on its path, length and intensity. Peak straight-line winds in Houston hit 100 mph. At least two tornadoes, including an EF1 that hit the northwest Houston suburb of Cypress, were embedded in the line of storms.

(​MORE: What Is A Derecho?)

"A squall line of severe thunderstorms roared through the Houston metro early yesterday evening with widespread wind gusts " weather.com senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said Friday morning. "Flooding rain also fell to the north of the Houston metro from College Station to Beaumont-Port Arthur."

P​arts of Louisiana were also battered, with an 84 mph wind gust reported at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. More than 46,000 homes, businesses and other utility customers lost power at the height of the storms there.

W​hitmire asked residents to stay home Friday if at all possible.

"Our first responders will be working around the clock," he said Thursday night.

Houston Power Outages Could Linger For Weeks | Weather.com (3)

Video posted to social media showed windows blown out of downtown skyscrapers.

H​ouston Independent School District canceled classes Friday due to the damage. Several other school districts followed suit.

A​s of early Sunday, Houston district officials reported power had been restored to 200 campuses, 77 remained without power and they're still assessing which schools will be able to provide air conditioning, water and food. Decisions about classes on Monday are expected later Sunday.

P​hotos from the area showed large electricity transmission towers in a mangled mess.

V​ideo from the Oak Forest neighborhood in northwest Houston showed large tree limbs snapped and laying on top of a car and house.

About 500 flights were canceled or delayed at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday, according to online tracker FlightAware.com. More than 1,500 flights were affected at Dallas-Fort Worth.

Weather.com reporter Jan Childs covers breaking news and features related to weather, space, climate change, the environment and everything in between.

Houston Power Outages Could Linger For Weeks | Weather.com (2024)
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