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Storm leaves trail of destruction in Texas; see video

A storm with hurricane-force winds hit the Houston area on Thursday, killing at least four people, blowing out windows from tall buildings and leaving about 800,000 homes without power as much of the city was submerged. in darkness, Houston Mayor John Whitmire said in an interview with local television station KRIV.

Two deaths were reportedly caused by fallen trees, and another by a crane accident, Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña said at a news conference.

See images of the destruction in Texas:

About 770,000 homes and businesses in Texas, Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states were without power Friday afternoon, according to meteorologists and data from PowerOutage.us.

Houston area impacted by destructive storms

Violent storms in Houston blew out skyscraper windows, partially collapsed a nightclub and partially tore off the roof of the Hyatt Regency hotel in the city center, flooding the establishment's lobby, according to video from a witness.

CenterPoint Energy says its downtown Houston skyscraper suffered damage from the storm, according to a spokesperson.

Steel power transmission towers in Houston were also destroyed by the storms, the news affiliate reported. CNN , KPRC. Along part of U.S. Route 290, traffic was halted as firefighters removed downed towers covering the road.

The weather service issued a severe thunderstorm watch with the highest-level “destructive” warning for Houston, urging residents to take shelter immediately. There were reports of winds of up to 125 km/h on the east side of the city.

Houston's mayor advised residents to avoid going out and stay home.

“The mayor and first responders are asking Houstonians to stay off the streets and avoid all unnecessary travel. Many roads are impassable due to downed power towers, debris and fallen trees,” Whitmire’s office said in a statement Thursday night (16).

The Houston Independent School District announced that campuses would remain closed this Friday (17) and would reopen on Monday (20) “due to widespread damage in Houston”.

More than a dozen Houston-area school districts also announced they would close Friday, including Aldine Independent School District, Channelview Independent School District and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.

*With information from Monica Garrett, CNN meteorologist.

Source: CNN Brasil

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