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News / Nation & World

Weather-weary Texas battered again as powerful storm, strong winds kill 1, cause widespread damage

By LEKAN OYEKANMI and JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press
Published: May 29, 2024, 8:23am
3 Photos
Rain falls as a storm rolls through Houston on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.
Rain falls as a storm rolls through Houston on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Raquel Natalicchio/Houston Chronicle via AP) Photo Gallery

HOUSTON (AP) — Power outages remained widespread Wednesday in storm-weary Texas a day after another burst of severe weather flooded streets, uprooted trees and ripped off roofs. Authorities said a teenager was killed at a construction site while working on a home that collapsed.

The severe weather Tuesday, which at one point left more than 1 million customers without electricity, was a continuation of deadly storms, some spawning tornadoes, across the U.S. over the long Memorial Day weekend that killed 24 people in seven states.

Electric utility Oncor said power in the Dallas area should be restored by Friday for most customers, but some outages will linger into the weekend. So far, the company has brought back power to just over half of the 650,000 customers affected in north Texas.

Flooding and damage in Houston came just weeks after the area was walloped by a weather event known as a derecho — a widespread, long-lived windstorm that’s associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. That storm left eight people dead and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers.

“A lot of people are without power again. We just got through with the derecho a couple of weeks ago, which was extremely devastating and many are still trying to recover from,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in the county home to Houston.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell was scheduled to travel Wednesday to Arkansas, where seven people died in the weekend storms, as the Biden administration continues assessing tornado damage.

The potential for heavy rains, localized flash flooding and severe weather will continue Wednesday through Oklahoma and Texas. Thunderstorms are predicted late Wednesday and Thursday across eastern Montana and Wyoming and northeast Colorado before pushing into Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas.

Tuesday’s power outages in the Dallas area prompted officials to extend polls by two hours in the state’s runoff elections after dozens of polling places lost power.

The city opened centers where residents could seek shelter and air conditioning after winds gusting to 80 mph (129 kph) caused extensive damage. Local news footage showed several homes without roofs, some damaged by trees ripped from the ground.

Social media posts showed winds pushing an unoccupied American Airlines plane away from a gate at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The airline said severe weather affected several parked aircraft. No one was injured.

The airport said in an email to The Associated Press that about 500 flights were canceled because of the weather. Nearly another 200 flights were canceled at Dallas Love Field Airport, according to the website FlightAware.

Cars crawled through flooded highways and more than 300,000 customers were without power at one point around Houston.

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The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said a 16-year-old boy was killed when a home under construction collapsed during a thunderstorm in the Houston suburb of Magnolia. The teen was an employee of the construction company and authorized to be on the site, the sheriff’s office said.

It was one of three homes under construction that collapsed, according to the city’s fire department.

There doesn’t appear to be much relief in sight. The National Weather Service said the “very active and highly impactful” weather pattern will continue in the central U.S. over the next several days.

Destructive storms over the weekend caused deaths in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia. Meanwhile in the Midwest, an unusual weather phenomenon called a “gustnado” that looks like a small tornado brought some dramatic moments to a western Michigan lake over the weekend.

For more information on recent tornado reports, see The Associated Press Tornado Tracker.

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