Seven dead after ferocious storm hits Texas


The death toll after a ferocious storm hit the city of Houston in the American state of Texas now stands at seven.

The city, the USA’s fourth largest, was hit by heavy rain and winds of up to 160 km/h on Thursday. It left streets in the city center littered with broken glass after numerous windows were blown to pieces.

Blown trees and power poles lay in the neighborhoods and the country’s weather service confirmed that a tornado had been reported in the Cypress neighborhood.

Harris Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the victims included an 85-year-old woman who died after lightning struck her trailer and set it on fire.

A 60-year-old man was found unconscious and later pronounced dead after he went outside to his bakkie to get power for his oxygen tank. Power outages were reported across large parts of the storm-hit area.

A 57-year-old man also died after trying to move an overturned power pole.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire said Thursday shortly after the storm that four people had died. He did not immediately release details about the deaths.

Schools in Houston, with a population of nearly 2.3 million people and an economy that revolves around oil and petrochemicals, were closed on Friday and non-essential workers were asked to stay home.