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At least 4 people are killed in Houston after a severe thunderstorm passed through

Fans make their way into Minute Maid Park as a severe thunderstorm hit before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Houston Astros, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Houston.
Karen Warren
/
Houston Chronicle via AP
Fans make their way into Minute Maid Park as a severe thunderstorm hit before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Houston Astros, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Houston.

At least four people have died in Houston, as high-wind thunderstorms moved through Texas Thursday.

Official causes of death have not been determined, but officials presume two people were killed by fallen trees and one person was killed by a crane that toppled over, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said.

The school district canceled classes for Friday, and Houston Mayor John Whitmire urged non-essential workers to stay home from work and off the roads, as glass was scattered across downtown, traffic lights went out across the city, and trees and live wire were blocking streets and highways.

The storms primarily affected northwest Houston, Houston Heights, the central business district and east Houston.

All city departments were working overnight Thursday to clear debris and open centers for people who need medical assistance, are homeless or whose power went out.

Statewide, nearly 900,000 customers were without power early Friday morning, most of them located in Harris County, where Houston is primarily situated, according to poweroutage.us.Whitmire said it could take between 24 and 48 hours for electricity to be restored.

He added the city has not heard from anyone who is trapped, but there is a backlog of 911 calls. The majority of them have been about gas leaks, Peña said. The state sent in Department of Public Safety officers to clear the downtown area so that Houston police can focus on monitoring the calls.

Heavy rainfall is still forecasted in the area on Friday, and flash flooding is possible, according to the National Weather Service.

"But the real emphasis tonight is stay at home," Whitmire said. "Do not travel on the roads. It's dark. There's trees across roadways across Houston, so be very patient, cautious, look out for one another."

He added, "Take care of your neighbors, your family, your pets, and let's go forward."

Copyright 2024 NPR

Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]