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Storm system with 100-mph winds kills 7 in greater Houston area

By Mike Heuer

May 18 (UPI) -- At least seven people died as a storm system with wind speeds of up to 100 mph and a tornado passed through the Houston area Thursday and threatened the Southeast.

"This kind of wind is something we have not seen in Harris County since Hurricane Alicia in 1983," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo told reporters Friday.

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The National Weather Service reported an EF-1 tornado with wind speeds of up to 110 mph in Cyprus, while straight-line winds were recorded with wind speeds of up to 100 mph.

Downed trees killed two and a crane accident claimed another life, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena told media Thursday.

Another four deaths were reported Friday, including a man who died while trying to move a downed utility pole, a woman whose trailer caught fire after lightning struck it and another man was found dead after trying to use his truck to power his oxygen tank after his electricity went out.

The severe weather knocked out power for a million residents, about 550,000 of whom remained powerless Saturday morning. The storm system also damaged several skyscrapers.

Cleaning up from the storm damage will be made more difficult with high temperatures of about 90 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

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The National Weather Service advises caution while cleaning up from the storm damage due to the extended power outage that might last for several days amid high heat and humidity.

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