Power expected to be restored to most affected by Houston storm

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston area residents affected by deadly storms last week that left at least seven dead were finally getting some good news as officials said they expected power to be restored by Sunday evening to a majority of the hundreds of thousands still in the dark and without air conditioning amid hot and humid weather.

The widespread destruction of Thursday’s storms brought much of Houston to a standstill. Thunderstorms and hurricane-force winds tore through the city — reducing businesses and other structures to piles of debris, uprooting trees and shattering glass from downtown skyscrapers. A tornado also touched down near the Houston suburb of Cypress.

More than 352,000 homes and businesses in Texas remained without electricity Sunday morning, with most of those in the Houston area.

“It’s been a madhouse out here,” Cypress resident Hallie O’Bannon said. “You know we don’t have any power. No hot water. It’s been really crazy.”

At one of five cooling centers for people still without power in their homes, residents took shelter from the heat at a community center in the Cloverleaf neighborhood.

Carolina Sierra and her 6-year-old son, Derek, enjoyed the air conditioning for a couple of hours Sunday.

She said they have been without electricity since the storm hit Thursday, and their home has been stifling.

Derek passed the time coloring a picture of a dragon while his mother charged her cellphone and a portable lamp they planned to use Sunday night if the power was still not restored. Sierra, 38, said she gives her son multiple baths to try to keep him cool but he tosses and turns at night and struggles to sleep.

“We are desperate. We hardly sleep at night because of the heat,” Sierra said.

Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia stood outside the center Sunday, helping load water and ice onto vehicles while offering words of encouragement to residents still waiting for power to be restored.

“We are seeing a bit of the recovery come through. But we can’t see enough of it fast enough,” Garcia said.

Help was also on the way in the form of disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and loans from the Small Business Administration, said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in the county where Houston is located. The federal assistance, which can help pay for temporary housing and repairs, will help residents affected by last week’s storms as well as by flooding in late April and early May in parts of Houston and several counties north around Houston.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today