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Weather updates: Storm-stricken Texas hit again, 450,000 people without power

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Storm-weary Texans braced for even more brutal weather Wednesday as they clean up after the recent spate of heavy rains and hurricane-force winds that knocked out power to more than a million homes and businesses.

At least one person was killed when a building under construction collapsed near Houston. The Dallas area was inundated by localized flooding as a result of the storms that swept across much of the southern Plains, an area already suffering from severe weather for weeks.

“Thunderstorms across Central Texas will gradually subside this morning as additional storms move in from the west,” the National Weather Service said in a warning Wednesday. “Some strong to severe storms are possible.”

The warning also said that several thunderstorms were expected from Thursday into Friday, some of which “could be severe and bring heavy rain.”

Wind gusts of over 70 miles per hour were recorded in Dallas and Houston. Dallas County authorities declared a disaster on Tuesday and warned of a “multi-day power outage for a significant number” of residents.

The latest storms hit the state just days after deadly weather struck the region over Memorial Day weekend, killing nearly two dozen people. At least seven deaths have been reported in Texas – where the misery began two weeks ago when high winds and flooding swept through the Houston area, killing nine people and leaving some area residents without power for more than a week.

Developments:

∎ Power has been restored in Texas, but nearly 450,000 energy customers were still without electricity as of Wednesday morning.

∎ Another 70,000 electricity customers in Kentucky, Arkansas, Virginia and Missouri were left without power.

In the Dallas area, power outages prompted election officials to extend polling hours for the state's runoff elections. Northeast of Dallas, the First United Methodist Church in Royse City was destroyed in a fire that firefighters tentatively blamed on a lightning strike during the storm.

Amanda Murski's Range Rover was crushed in her daughter's driveway in Dallas – buried under a huge tree uprooted by winds.

“It was unbelievable how crazy the wind was,” Murski told Fox4news.com. “It's just a vehicle. It's OK.”

Federal emergency management agencies have approved Governor Greg Abbott's request to add Collin, Cooke, Denton and Montague counties to the list of more than a dozen Texas counties already recognized in the disaster declaration. The declaration allows FEMA to provide funds for temporary housing, emergency home repairs, property damage, disaster legal services, and medical and funeral expenses incurred as a result of the disaster.

With at least 850 confirmed tornadoes and several major tornado outbreaks, 2024 is set to be one of the busiest years on record. Even some of the most experienced storm chasers have been surprised by tornado activity so far this year. The U.S. has already seen four days with at least 30 tornadoes rated EF1 or higher, said Harold Brooks, senior scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. The average is two per year.

Meteorologists interviewed by USA TODAY blame an active jet stream associated with a series of violent storms sweeping from the West Coast across the middle of the country. That's been “an ideal recipe for numerous severe thunderstorms and tornadoes” in recent weeks, said meteorologist Peter Mullinax of the Weather Prediction Center. Read more here.

Elizabeth Weise, Dinah Voyles Pulver and Doyle Rice

Anna Harden

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