Deadly storms in Houston: Harris County and Houston officials provide update on impact of severe weather Thursday

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The National Weather Service – Houston/Galveston confirmed there were straight-line winds of 100 mph in downtown Houston, while 90 mph winds buffeted Baytown during Thursday night’s destructive storm.

The NWS team also confirmed that it was a tornado near Cypress. They should soon provide more details on the path and intensity.

Officials told ABC13 the death toll rose to five. Four people were killed in the city of Houston. A woman and her pet in the Cypress area were killed in a mobile home fire.

Mayor John Whitmire and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo provided an update on the impacts Friday morning, noting that recovery would likely take weeks, not days.

Downtown Houston was the center of damaging winds and heavy rain. Videos posted on social media showed windows smashed and falling onto streets, which are impassable due to broken glass.

The next day, tree branches and insulation were strewn across two popular Houston streets.

RELATED: Downtown Houston riddled with glass after storm tears out windows of high-rise buildings

Hidalgo said they were still determining the extent of the damage and when power would be restored. CenterPoint Energy reported that more than 700,000 customers were without power at one point Friday morning.

At least 10 transmission lines were down, including seven in Harris County. The organization said it could take weeks to restore power, just like after Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Thursday night, ABC13 Chief Forecaster David Tillman said it was the worst non-hurricane situation to hit the city of Houston in the last 25 years.

Hidalgo also said at least 10 Harris County libraries will open as cooling centers. She said city leaders are coordinating with the Red Cross to begin assessing the damage and checking on those who are “medically fragile.”

“The next few weeks are going to be difficult,” Hidalgo said.

Whitmire said there are nearly 2,500 streetlights out of use and asked everyone to avoid downtown Houston unless they are essential workers.

The mayor continued to emphasize how first responders are “at the end of their rope” and asked everyone to help by avoiding the roads.

SEE ALSO: Destructive storms cause damage in Houston area

Windows were blown out and shards of glass were visible in the streets after strong winds ravaged the city center.

“Everyone is doing everything they can,” Whitmire said.

Officials said they were working to ask the government for help in what they called a “multi-day event.”

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas sent a statement on the deadly storms.

“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those who tragically lost their lives to severe weather in Southeast Texas, and we remain in contact with local authorities to do everything we can to protect Texans and helping our communities recover,” the governor said. Abbe. “As severe weather ravages the southeastern region of the state, Texas continues to deploy resources and assistance to impacted communities to keep Texans safe. Last month, I prepared response resources state emergency and issued a disaster declaration I have since amended this declaration aimed at ensuring that every community threatened by hazardous weather conditions has access to necessary resources. to support affected communities with immediate and long-term needs for restoration resources. The Public Utilities Commission of Texas is coordinating with utility providers to restore power to affected areas as quickly as possible. encourages Texans who experienced storm damage to report it online at when it is safe to do so. I thank the emergency response personnel who are working around the clock to protect their fellow Texans as we respond to this severe weather event.

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