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Following a deadly storm that caused widespread damage and power outages, Houston is in “recovery mode.”

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Four fatalities, significant property damage, and widespread power outages were the aftermath of a strong storm system that devastated the region overnight, leaving Houston in “recovery mode” on Friday morning. With winds reaching up to 100 mph, the storm left the city dealing with toppled trees, broken windows, and roadways covered in rubble. With the system now moving southeast, there is a chance of hail, strong gusts, and tornadoes this weekend.

Houston’s Scenes of Destruction

Houston was in chaos as the citizens awoke. The strong storms shattered glass fragments all across downtown and left debris strewn over roadways. Four fatalities from the hurricane were verified by Houston Mayor John Whitmire. Whitmire declared, “We are in the recovery phase.”

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña provided an update on the deaths during a press conference on Thursday night. He stated that two of the deaths were caused by fallen trees, while a third person perished in a crane mishap. He underlined that people should stay at home because of the dangerous driving conditions brought on by the extensive power outages that had also caused the city’s traffic lights to go out.

“There’s chaos downtown. The absence of traffic signals and the glass make it unsafe, Mayor Whitmire said. Thus, remain inside. I can’t stress this enough or say it enough.

Reactions to Emergencies and Power Outages

Chief Peña emphasized that gas leaks and broken power lines accounted for the majority of emergency calls. He advised locals to report any odors of gas from a secure area outside their residences. Over 900 CenterPoint Energy customers lost power, and some homeowners may need up to 48 hours for restoration work to be completed.

According to USA TODAY’s national power outage tracker, as of Friday morning, over 420,000 outages have been reported, making up 20% of all electricity accounts in the Houston region. Due to power outages and track debris, Houston’s metro service stated that shuttles will take the place of trains on the Purple and Green lines. This announcement will cause delays for morning commuters. Due to the extreme weather, schools remained closed throughout the region. Mayor Whitmire recommended downtown companies to permit workers to work from home.

According to the Weather Channel, by Friday morning, there was less chance of severe weather in Houston, with overcast skies and a few showers predicted for the afternoon.

Repercussions and Wider Effects

Just a few weeks have passed since Houston had severe flooding brought on by heavy rain and thunderstorms earlier in the month. Groveton and Trinity, two communities north of Houston, experienced around 10 and 9 inches of rain in late April, respectively, adding to worries of recurrent severe weather occurrences.

System of Storms Slopes Southeast

The storm system that pounded Houston is currently heading southeast, increasing the likelihood of strong thunderstorms and heavy rain for Alabama and the lower Mississippi Valley on Friday and throughout the duration of the weekend. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Birmingham warned of the possibility of strong winds, hail, and tornadoes in places like Montgomery and Selma. It also underlined the possibility of heavy rain and storms.

According to AccuWeather, there may be up to 8 inches of rain in northeastern Texas, Alabama, and Florida, increasing the risk of severe floods. According to The Weather Channel, there is still a chance of isolated tornadoes on Saturday, but flash floods could endanger areas in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama on Friday night.

The NWS in Mobile states that “gusty winds and hail” are anticipated to be the primary risks posed by powerful storms that are predicted to affect regions of Southeast Mississippi. On Friday morning, strong winds were also felt in certain areas of Florida; at the southern coast near Tallahassee, gusts as high as 70 mph were recorded.

Florida’s Record Heat

Apart from the potential storms, Florida has been witnessing unprecedentedly high temperatures. Key West tied its all-time record this week when it registered a heat index of 115 degrees. Only two degrees separated Miami from its record high of 96 degrees on Wednesday. Miami’s heat index may reach “triple digits” this weekend, the NWS said.

While Houston starts its long road to recovery, the rest of the area prepares for the storm system’s ongoing effects. Authorities in the Southeast are warning people to stay alert and ready for severe weather, which may include tornadoes, strong winds, and flooding. The experience of Houston highlights the need for strong disaster planning and resilient infrastructure by demonstrating the rising frequency and intensity of severe weather occurrences.

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