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  • The Mirror US

    Houston tornado: Four dead and 850,000 without power as 'nightmare' storm wreaks havoc on millions

    By Mataeo Smith,

    28 days ago

    Texas is bracing for 'nightmare' floods as a rare 'high risk' warning has placed 10 million on tornado watch - with four already confirmed dead.

    The Lone Star State and others across the south , including Louisiana, have already suffered weeks of intense rain. Now, a hazardous and fatal weather storm is beating the region for the second time this week.

    The storms have killed four and knocked out power to 850,000 people. The area is experiencing a rare Level 4 out of 4 "high-risk" flood hazard . Houston mayor John Whitmore told the public to stay home and shelter.

    NOAA's Weather Prediction Center (WPC) forecasters called it a "nightmare scenario."

    READ MORE: Texas floods: Boy, 4, found dead after being swept away in Johnson Country tragedy

    READ MORE: Hundreds evacuated from flooding in Texas as water rises leaving many desperately stranded

    “Stay at home tonight, do not go to work tomorrow, unless you’re an essential worker. Stay home, take care of your children,” Houston Mayor John Whitmire said in an evening briefing. “Our first responders will be working around the clock.”

    The mayor said four people died. At least two of the deaths were caused by falling trees , and another happened when a crane blew over in strong winds, officials said.

    Streets were flooded, and trees and power lines were down across the region. Whitmire said wind speeds reached 100 mph (160 kph), “with some twisters.”

    Many in Houston are among the nearly 10 million people under a tornado watch. Severe storms have the potential to produce golf-ball-sized hail and wind gusts up to 70 mph in addition to tornadoes. It comes as almost a million people across the region suffer power outages. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has asked President Joe Biden to issue a Presidential Disaster Declaration.

    Several rivers are overflowing in this area, which has received up to 25 inches of rain in the last 30 days. Since Hurricane Harvey in 2017, some rivers have risen to unprecedented heights. Serious floods could occur from any more rain. "Flood Watches extend into Mississippi," Meteorologist Britta Merwin said.

    "A lot of that will be happening tonight when folks will be sleeping. So that's the problem here. On top of having a significant flood risk, it is going to be continuing after sunset, and that's very scary." Multiple crashes have also been reported due to flooding in College Station, with heavy flooding affecting State Highway 30 near College Station due to the Navasota River overflowing.

    On Thursday, the area is expected to have more continuous showers and strong to severe thunderstorms. According to the FOX Forecast Center, this moisture will be remarkable. The amount of moisture in the atmosphere, measured by precipitable water, will rise over 2.25 inches, which is approximately as high as this region experiences at this time of year.

    Due to the combination of this moisture, the storms' slow motion, the saturated ground, and widespread and possibly major flooding are predicted. This flooding is projected to last through early Friday morning.

    Flights were briefly grounded at Houston’s two major airports. Sustained winds topping 60 mph (96 kph) were recorded at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

    According to, about 855,000 customers were without electricity in and around Harris County, which includes Houston. The county is home to more than 4.7 million people.

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    There is currently a Level 4 out of 4 "high risk" flood hazard. This risk level in the continental United States is responsible for 83% of flood-related damages and 39% of flood-related fatalities. East Texas Piney Woods area is especially concerning because it has received over 20 inches of rain in the past two weeks alone. Storms with up to three inches of rain per hour are possible on Thursday.

    While thunderstorms were preparing over the Texas A&M campus in College Station, there were reports of significant flooding in the surrounding area. Due to thunderstorms, tornado warnings were also issued for the Houston metro area. Several rivers are still at flood stage; along the Lower Trinity River, record or almost record flooding continues.

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    This extra rain is anticipated to extend the time these rivers flood. Water levels in rivers that have previously experienced a decline may once more rise to the flood stage.

    On Friday and into early Saturday, the flooding hazard will move to the east, with a Level 3 out of 4 flood risk centered in central and southern Alabama and southeast Mississippi. This weekend is when the area starts to dry out.

    In addition, violent thunderstorms from eastern New Mexico to western Louisiana have prompted the issuing of violent thunderstorms and tornado watches.

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