More Than 1 Million Without Power and 4 Dead After Dangerous Storms Blast Through Houston

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: May 17, 2024

Deadly thunderstorms in Houston have affected more than 1 million residents and left them in the dark. The storm system that moved over Texas this week has caused at least four fatalities and wreaked havoc across the state.

A mother of a newborn is one of the four people who lost their lives during the massive storm front. Deadly winds are expected to continue into the weekend, causing massive upheaval and delays in the area.

Deadly Winds Destroying Property

During the storm front, winds reached as high as 78 miles per hour. The deadly wind blew over trees, trashed windows in high-rise buildings, and caused transmission towers holding power lines to topple.

A police car has its emergency lights illuminated on a en empty downtown street next to fallen debris and tall buildings in the background

Source: @WeatherNation/X

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the National Weather Service have encouraged everyone to stay off the roads and clear of falling debris.

Storms Have Followed Massive Flooding in the State

The popular recreational site Lake Houston was closed earlier this month due to extreme flooding and rising water levels. A deluge of rain hit the eastern side of the state.

A large lake with muddy waters floods around the shoreline

Source: @Jim_n_Texas/X

More than six inches of rain were recorded in just the first week of May, more than one inch than the average monthly rainfall. More rainstorms were predicted to sweep through the state in the following weeks.

Widespread Debris Has Caused Chaos

Because of the storm’s severity, large amounts of broken glass, electrical lines, and downed trees have littered the streets.

A small road is shown with multiple fallen trees and a small red truck in the background

Source: @NickABC13/X

The NWS warned that anyone coming upon fallen trees and electrical lines should stay away and wait until cleanup crews can access the area.

Recent Storms Moving Through the U.S.

Massive weather systems and storms have moved through the western states in the past few weeks.

A white car sits next to a road, the entire area is covered in snow

Source: Giorgio Trovato/Unsplash

In late April, the National Weather Service issued a snow alert in northern California and urged residents to stay inside.

Tornado Warning Startled Residents

Locals in Houston were surprised to see a tornado warning alerting from their cellphones on Wednesday night.

A large tornado touches down next a white house and large power lines

Source: NOAA/Unsplash

High winds and heavy rains battered the city and caused many people to seek shelter.


State Resources Have Been Requested To Find Missing Persons

In a press conference, Houston Mayor John Whitmire stated that at least four people have been reported dead as a result of storm activity.

A destroyed area with a postal service truck on its side and destroyed homes

Source: @HoustonChron/X

State resources have been requested to help uncover missing persons and assist with the recovery efforts. At least two people have been killed by falling trees and another by a dismantled crane.


Mother of Newborn Among 4 Killed

Among the deceased was a 31-year-old woman who had recently given birth to her fourth child. She was killed when a tree fell across her car in their driveway.

A man holds a red line up to another man in a tree removing destroyed tree branches in front of a house with a white porch

Source: @HoustonChron/X

Reports show that the woman was afraid the tree might collapse onto her car at night, so she attempted to move the car first. Unfortunately, she was pinned inside the car before she was able to move to safety.


An Elderly Man Struck by a Crane

A 73-year-old man who was currently working inside a cement truck was killed when a crane from a nearby construction site topped onto the cab of the truck.

A large orange construction crane

Source: Guillaume Techer/Unsplash

The reports show how dangerous high winds can be in a suburban environment.


Hurricane-Like Conditions

During a press conference, Whitmire said, “We had a storm with 100 mph winds — the equivalent of Hurricane Ike. (There’s) considerable damage downtown.”

A man picked up a downed power cord over a silver car surrounded by tree debris

Source: @HoustonChron/X

He went on to state that, “We had firefighters taking live wires off (Interstate) 290 that was blocking thoroughfares.” Thanks to emergency personnel, downed wires were efficiently cleared from the site.


Considerable Delays in Public Transportation

The METRO Houston authority noted several disruptions in public transportation. Fallen trees and debris have made it impossible for buses and trains to move throughout the city.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire stands with a group of first responders at a press conference following destruction

Source: @HCPrecinct4/X

Officials warned that bus routes were encountering significant delays because of the widespread damage.


Non-Essential Workers Told To Stay Home

Because of the massive amounts of falling broken glass in the downtown core, all non-essential workers were urged to stay home and safe in the chaos.

A large tree branch fallen on a black SUV

Source: @JMilesKHOU/X

Businesses were urged to become more flexible with employees who could perform their work from home for the remainder of Friday.