HOUSTON (NEWSnet/AP) — Tornado-warned thunderstorms pummeled southeastern Texas on Thursday, killing at least four people and causing widespread damage in the Houston area.

Mary Benton, chief of communications and senior advisor to Houston's mayor, confirmed the four deaths.

Streets were flooded, and trees and power lines were down across the region. KHOU-TV showed images of shattered windows on an office building in downtown Houston, with glass littering the street below.

City officials urged residents to stay off the roads as many were impassable and traffic lights were out.

In the aftermath of the storm, Houston Mayor John Whitmire and other local officials met at the Houston Emergency Operations Center to coordinate response and gather information. CenterPoint Energy urged residents to stay away from downed power lines.

Flights were grounded at Houston’s two major airports because of the weather. Sustained winds topping 60 mph were recorded at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

More than 870,000 customers were without electricity in and around Harris County, which contains Houston, according to poweroutage.us. The county is home to more than 4.7 million people.


The Houston Independent School District has canceled classes Friday for all its 274 campuses.

Despite the stadium's roof being closed for the Major League Baseball game between the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics, rain poured into Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston. Numerous videos and photos of that scene were posted Thursday night on news sites and social media.

This has been an exceptional year for severe weather in the U.S., and Houston has seen its share. Heavy storms slammed the region during the first week of May, leading to numerous high-water rescues.

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