Some Houston Residents Wait Longer for Power Restoration After Storm

Nearly all homes and businesses in the Houston region that were left without power by last week’s devastating storm should have it restored by late Wednesday, according to authorities.

However, as many as 20,000 consumers might be forced to wait through the following weekend for power to be restored.

During Wednesday’s Houston City Council meeting, Brad Tutunjian, VP of regulatory policy at CenterPoint Energy, informed council members that almost all customers should have power back on by Wednesday night.

Nearly 922 thousand people lost electricity while the outage was at its worst. That number had dropped to about 42,000 by Wednesday night.

The storm that hit Houston on May 16th was responsible for eight deaths, extensive damage, and the partial shutdown of the city. The city was ravaged by thunderstorms and hurricane-force winds, which blew down trees and shattered glass from downtown buildings, destroying shops. A tornado in Waller County, northwest of Houston, and another tornado in Cypress, a suburb of northwest Houston, were both produced by the same storm.

Jeff Evans, a meteorologist, said the storm had been classified as a derecho by the National Weather Service. The weather service describes a derecho as a broad and long-lived windstorm, in conjunction with a band of swiftly moving thunderstorms.

According to Evans, the derecho swept over the Houston region with hurricane-force winds for 5 to 8 miles, with gusts of up to 100 mph in some areas. The prolonged duration of a derecho’s straight-line winds, which may be more destructive than a tornado, makes them a more formidable threat.

Several counties north of Houston in Texas were still cleaning up after the devastating floods that hit in late April.

In the aftermath of last week’s derecho, Houston City Council Member Abbie Kamin said that the city’s power lines and other infrastructure should be fortified.  The metro region, which is home to over 2 million people, has a long history of disastrous weather, including hurricanes, and is also one of the most flood-prone in the nation.

June is the beginning of hurricane season.