Widespread power outages from deadly Houston storm raise new risk: hot weather

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HOUSTON, May 18, (AP): As the Houston area works to clean up and restore power to thousands after deadly storms that left at least seven people dead, it will do so Saturday under a smog warning and as all of southern Texas starts to feel the heat.

The National Weather Service in Houston warned that with temperatures hitting around 90 degrees (32.2 C) this weekend, people should know the symptoms of heat exhaustion. ”Don’t overdo yourself during the cleanup process,” it said in a post on the social platform X.

The balmy weather is a concern in a region where more than a half-million homes and businesses remained without electricity Saturday morning — down from nearly 1 million, according to PowerOutage.us. Fierce storms Thursday with winds of up to 100 mph (161 kph) blew out windows downtown, while a tornado touched down near the the northwest Houston suburb of Cypress.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez reported that three people died during the storm, including an 85-year-old woman whose home caught fire after being struck by lightning and a 60-year-old man who had tried to use his vehicle to power his oxygen tank.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire previously said at least four people were killed in the city when the storms swept through Harris County, which includes Houston.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Friday that it could take “weeks” for power to be restored in some areas.

With multiple transmission towers down, Hidalgo urged patience. Another 21,000 customers were without power in Louisiana, where strong winds and a suspected tornado hit, down from a peak of 215,000.

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