Unrelenting heat dangerous for those still without power after Houston storms

AccuWeather meteorologists say the heat and humidity are reaching dangerous levels amid widespread power outages in Houston following a round of intense and deadly thunderstorms on May 16 in a portion of Texas and Louisiana,

Houston was hit especially hard by the storms, which packed hurricane-force winds as high as 100 mph when they roared through on Thursday evening, shattering high-rise windows, tossing large objects and killing at least 7 people. AccuWeather experts are forecasting $5-7 billion in total economic impact to the Houston area.

Downed transmission power lines are shown near Grand Parkway and West Rd. after a storm Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Cypress. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images)

After more than a million customers were initially without power, poweroutage.us reports that over 147,000 customers were still without power in Texas as of Tuesday morning, primarily in southeastern Texas. CenterPoint Energy said they're on track for substantial completion of power restoration by the end of the day Wednesday, according to KHOU 11.

"Residents across Harris and surrounding counties need to be prepared to be without power for days not hours," posted Jeff Linder, a meteorologist for Harris County, on X. "Mutual aid resources are en route from various areas, but restoration will take time."

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo told reporter Adam Zuvanich of Houston Public Media that power could be out in some areas for a "couple weeks" as CenterPoint Energy works to repair downed transmission towers in the Cypress, Texas, area.

While mainly dry weather is ahead for the Houston area, according to AccuWeather meteorologists, building heat is a big concern.

"This will be the first extended stretch of widespread 90-degree or higher heat this year," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bob Larson. "For those without power and thus air conditioning or electric fans, this comes at the worst possible time."

An area of high pressure, or "heat dome," is expected to strengthen across Texas and Louisiana, leading to temperatures that will run several degrees above historical averages. In Houston, temperatures will be more typical of the mid-June through early-September period-the hottest time of the year-rather than May.

The temperature, along with the expected bright sunshine and high humidity, will complicate the cleanup and make the heat dangerous.

"AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will be around and even over 100 degrees for several afternoons in a row into the new week," added Larson.

The veil of night will offer little relief, as temperatures will also remain above average then.

"Not only will the days be hot, but the nights will also be uncomfortable," said Larson. "Low temperatures will barely be into the 70s, along with continued high humidity."

Residents and workers can do several things to protect themselves from the heat, especially at a time when there will be fewer air-conditioned options. These include staying well hydrated, spending time in well-ventilated and shaded areas, and checking on those especially susceptible to heat-related illnesses, such as the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.

Looking toward the latter portion of the new week and into the extended Memorial Day holiday weekend, there looks to be little relief from the heat in the cards. AccuWeather's Long Range forecasting team continues to expect dry and hot conditions across the Lone Star State and the rest of the South.

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