Houston storm damage: Power outages could last days; safety urged

It could take days, if not longer, to restore power to the areas hardest hit by severe weather in Houston on Thursday, officials say.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and other local officials held a press conference on Friday about the damaging storms that left at least four people dead and hundreds of thousands without power.

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Houston power outages: When will it be restored?

CenterPoint says the storms caused significant damage to their electrical system, and 10 transmission lines are down in their service area, including seven in Harris County. At the peak, nearly 922,000 customers were without power, but electricity has been restored to more than 180,000 as of 10 a.m.

RELATED: Houston power outage tracker


The company says power could be out for days in the hardest hit areas, and they encourage those who need lifesaving equipment to make plans to stay somewhere else.

Damage assessments are ongoing. CenterPoint says more than 2,000 employees and contractors are deployed and about 4,000 more lineworkers and 1,000 vegetation professionals have been requested to assist.

Safety urged on streets, in neighborhoods

The mayor and county judge both stressed patience and caution as the recovery process begins.

The public is asked to stay home if they can. The mayor says everyone should avoid Downtown, where shattered glass and debris from buildings are strewn across the street.

RELATED: Shocking photos, videos capture storm destruction in Houston

Judge Hidalgo stressed that while the interstates may be clear, there could still be downed powerlines and fallen trees in the neighborhoods.

Residents are asked to stay far away from any downed powerlines, and to report them to CenterPoint at (713) 207-2222. Anyone who smells natural gas inside their homes should also get outside and call CenterPoint at 612-372-5050 or 800-296-9815.

With the power outages, the county judge also stressed that generators need to be used safely and should never be brought indoors or turned on under an awning.

At least four killed in Houston storms

Mayor Whitmire says at least four people were killed due to the impacts of the storms. He says there may have been a fifth death, but it wasn't confirmed yet if it was weather-related.

Among those who died was a mother of four who was killed when a tree fell on her vehicle as the storm blew in, police say.

RELATED: Houston mother of four killed when tree fell on her SUV during storm

A man, in his 70s, was also killed when the strong winds knocked a crane onto the cement truck he was in, police say.

RELATED: Crane falls on cement truck during Houston storm, killing man

Was there a tornado in the Houston area?

An EF-1 tornado has been confirmed in Cypress with peak winds of 110 mph. 

The National Weather Service also found significant straight-line winds that peaked at 100 mph in Downtown Houston and straight-line winds between 90-100 mph in the Baytown area.