Storms damage homes in Oklahoma and Kansas. But in Houston, most power is restored

May 20, 2024, 5:12 AM | Updated: 3:18 pm

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Fast-moving storms with strong winds, large hail and apparent tornadoes swept Oklahoma and Kansas, blowing roofs off homes and blocking roads with toppled trees and downed power lines. Meanwhile, Houston made progress in recovering from last week’s deadly storms.

Nearly 20 homes were damaged in western Oklahoma’s Custer County, with two people injured in Butler, state emergency officials said late Sunday. Damage to a nursing home was reported in the town of Hydro.

Wind gusts well over 60 mph (about 100 kph) were reported in many areas as the storms, which began Sunday afternoon and lasted through the night, moved eastward. In central Kansas, a 100 mph (160 kph) wind gust was reported at the airport in Salina, the National Weather Service said.

Jacob Schwein, of Russell, Kansas, told television station KAKE that he spotted a funnel cloud from a storm that damaged his home and ripped apart a garage where he kept his race car, trophies and an array of tools.

“When I left work, I seen it,” Schwein said. “I seen it come down right over there on the on the next road.”

Overturned semitrailers were reported in Newton and Sedgwick counties, the office said.

“Due to the damage and debris please do not go out unless absolutely necessary!” the city of Halstead posted online.

The weather service said it received 13 tornado reports Sunday from Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.

Schools were canceled Monday in several communities that were cleaning up. More storms were forecast for later in the day. The National Weather Service warned of an enhanced risk of severe storms late Monday night into early Tuesday in parts of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. Thoe storms could produce large hail, gusts of up to 75 mph (121 kph) and some tornadoes.

Parts of Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota could also see some flooding with heavy rain swelling rivers and creeks, the weather service said.

Houston-area residents affected by deadly storms last week received some good news as officials said power was restored Sunday to a majority of the hundreds of thousands who had been left in the dark and without air conditioning during hot and humid weather.

Thursday’s storms left at least seven dead and brought much of Houston to a standstill. Thunderstorms and hurricane-force winds tore through the city of over 2 million, reducing businesses and other structures to debris, uprooting trees and shattering glass in downtown skyscrapers.

More than 209,000 homes and businesses in Texas remained without electricity Monday, mostly in the Houston area. More than 2,400 customers remained without power in Louisiana, which also was hit by strong winds and a suspected tornado.

In one Houston-area neighborhood, many residents without power picked up food, water and ice at a distribution site set up at a Boys & Girls Club. City and county buses were used as temporary cooling centers.

“I’m a mother of three girls … My house does not have electricity and I know what you are all suffering and we are here to help you,” Harris County Commissioner Lesley Briones said in a video posted on the social platform X.

The weather service said Houston-area residents should expect “sunny, hot and increasingly humid days.” Highs of about 90 degrees (32 Celsius) were expected this week, with heat indexes likely approaching 102 degrees (39 Celsius) by midweek.

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Storms damage homes in Oklahoma and Kansas. But in Houston, most power is restored