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Houston metro rocked by severe storms that left 4 dead and over 1 million without power

A storm system that threatened to dump torrential rain across East Texas brought severe thunderstorms to the nation’s fourth-largest city on Thursday, killing at least four people and leaving more than 1 million customers without power.

The local National Weather Service issued several tornado warnings for the Houston metro, but by the time the storm subsided, strong winds were believed to have caused most of the damage.

Winds estimated at more than 110 miles per hour toppled trees, blew out windows on high-rise buildings and collapsed power towers connecting power lines.

More than 800,000 power outages were reported in the Houston metro, and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office urged everyone to stay off the roads as trees blocked roads.

PowertOuage.us reported that neighboring counties were also dealing with power outages, sending the state’s tally to well over 1 million customers.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire said the storm killed at least four people and state resources were being asked to help with recovery.

A view of damaged building windows after a storm on May 16, 2024 in Houston, Texas. Go Cougs (via Reuters)
Winds estimated at more than 110 miles per hour toppled trees, blew out windows on high-rise buildings and collapsed power towers connecting power lines. Go Cougs (via Reuters)

“The roof of the Hyatt Regency downtown was blown off. Rain and debris was pouring down into the lobby,” a hotel customer told FOX Weather.

He said staff were doing their best to keep people safe and away from the debris.

Windows appeared to have been blown out at other buildings downtown, including around Wells Fargo Plaza.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire said the storm killed at least four people and state resources were being asked to help with recovery. Cyfair Fire Department.
PowertOuage.us reported that neighboring counties were also dealing with power outages, sending the state’s tally to well over 1 million customers. AP

At nearby Minute Maid Park, wind and water could be seen seeping into buildings, but the inclement weather did not appear to affect the Astros baseball game.

“We’re all out tonight… there’s chaos downtown, so please stay home tonight and tomorrow,” Whitmire said.

Flooded roads in Harris County, Texas. Katy, Texas EMI

Local residents said the storm’s effects were like a hurricane, even though the severe weather lasted less than an hour.

Ground stops were also issued at Bush Intercontinental Airport and Houston William P. Hobby Airport due to inclement weather.

The Houston School District announced Friday that all public schools would close and reopen Monday.

Dangerous thunderstorms were expected to transition into a flooding threat overnight, with an additional 2 to 5 inches of rain expected to fall on already saturated land.

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