- Minor coastal flooding expected along beaches, downtown Wilmington
- Live radar: Flash Flood Warning extended in Harris County until 5:45 p.m.
- Live radar: Flash Flood Warning issued in Harris County until 4:45 p.m.
- Tornado Warning for parts of Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria and Galveston counties
- TIMELINE: Flood advisory issued for SE Harris County
The National Weather Service has operated an office in Corpus Christi, Texas since 1887. It moved to property at the international airport in 1995. Chris Ramirez/Caller-Times
Thousands of Kingsville residents awoke Friday morning to widespread damage and power outages after a storm moved through the area.
At its peak more than 9,600 residents in the Kingsville area were without power after the storm hit Thursday night.
According to American Electric Power Texas officials, the storm moved in Kingsville about 7 p.m. with winds of at least 65 mph. There were also reports of a tornado, prompting the National Weather Service to send a team to confirm it.
About 1 p.m., weather officials determined what residents saw was actually a “strong downburst (that) occurred over the heart of the city.”
Downbursts are powerful winds that descend from a thunderstorm and spread out quickly once they hit the ground, the weather service website states.
“These winds can easily cause damage similar to a tornado and are sometimes misinterpreted as tornadoes,” the website states.
The city and the county are expected to be declared disaster zones.
Winds from 85 to 90 mph damaged northwest Kingsville to just southeast of the city with the damaged focused around Corral Street.
WHEN WILL POWER BE RESTORED?
AEP Texas Crews worked through the night and continue to work to restore power to customers.
Most residents will remain without power until 8 p.m. Saturday, AEP officials said Friday afternoon.
Crews are expected to restore power to about 95 percent of the Kingsville area residents.
“AEP Texas crews have restored power to the local hospital, the naval air station and local water treatment plant,” a news release states. “Crews anticipate restoration of service to the water pumping station by this afternoon, if not sooner.”
As of 11:30 a.m., 6,100 Kingsville area residents remained without power.
Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid said a “chill zone” has been set up at the Romeo Lomas Human Services Building on Santa Gertrudis for senior citizens without power from the storm.
Kleberg County officials are weighing whether to open three FEMA domes in Kingsville to act as cooling centers for residents without power. Madrid reached out to the Red Cross to see if cots can be supplied for the domes.
Damage includes broken utility pole cross arms and downed power lines.
“Crews patrolled circuits, removed hazardous and were able to restore power to some customers,” a Facebook post by AEP Texas states. “The storm shredded tree limbs, which became entangled in power lines, in some cases. Please consider any downed power lines to be energized and dangerous.”
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Customers encountering downed power lines should call 1-866-223-8508.
“As crews work to restore power and clean up damage today, the city of Kingsville is asking all residents to take precautions,” a news release from the City of Kingsville states. “The heat index could exceed 110 degrees today and it is essential that residents and volunteers remain hydrated during cleanup. Also, be sure to take breaks in a well-ventilated location.”
City officials asked residents to be patient and obedient to four-way stops since many street lights were not working. There were minor crashes in the city because of the outages, the release states.
Kingsville’s municipal building remained closed due to power outages. Staff has been moved to city hall and phone lines are operational, according to the release.
The city designated two brush-staging areas where residents can drop off trash. Locations include 6th and Avenue B and a second at Precinct 4, located at Santa Gertrudis and 14th Street.
Texas A&M University-Kingsville classes were canceled Friday morning because the campus remained without power.
Kingsville Independent School District also canceled summer classes on Friday because of weather. Classes resume Monday.
“In the meantime, crews will continue to restore power or reroute circuits while repairs continue. Additional crews will begin arriving this morning to assist with the restoration effort.” the post states.
As of 6:30 a.m. Friday, about 6,900 Kingsville area residents remained without power.
Several Kleberg County residents posted photos to the National Weather Service Corpus Christi’s Facebook page, claiming a tornado hit the area.
Monica Lopez covers trending and breaking news in South Texas. Help support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
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