Unexpected storms disrupt power to greater Katy area, cause school closures CenterPoint estimates days to weeks for full power restoration

Posted 5/23/24

A severe weather event created havoc throughout the greater Katy area on May 16, leaving many local households without power for days. The northwest quadrant of the Katy area had the longest delays in resuming power.

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Unexpected storms disrupt power to greater Katy area, cause school closures CenterPoint estimates days to weeks for full power restoration


A severe weather event created havoc throughout the greater Katy area on May 16, leaving many local households without power for days. The northwest quadrant of the Katy area had the longest delays in resuming power.


As of Tuesday, May 21, as the Katy Times went to press for this issue, homes in the northwest Katy area, including Sunterra and Freeman Ranch and other nearby subdivisions, were still without power, according to CenterPoint’s outage tracker. The company’s outage tracker was not working properly over the weekend, making it difficult to assess the full extent of power outages in the Katy area, or the progress being made in power restoration. “The company is experiencing slower-than-normal system performance from the Outage Tracker tool on its website. CenterPoint will continue to share updates on its Power Alert System and on X at @CenterPoint as the information becomes available,” the company said Saturday in a press release on its website.

The storm system caused extensive damage to CenterPoint’s transmission and distribution electric systems, the company said in a statement on its website. Wind gusts between 65-85 mph and sustained winds equivalent to a tropical storm, or a Category 1 Hurricane, were seen downtown and eastward toward northern Galveston Bay. The hardest-hit area was likely over the 290 corridor from Jersey Village to Waller where there was strong evidence of a tornado based on Doppler radar data, the company said. Restoration work was expected to continue through the weekend and into this week. Information on particular areas will be provided to customers. See more at: https://www.centerpointenergy.com/en-us/corporate/about-us/news/1743#sthash.NbwA28MH.dpuf.

Katy ISD and Royal ISD

Due to power outages caused by the weather, Royal ISD closed all five of its campuses. In Katy, the Katy Independent School District (Katy ISD) closed 23 of its 76 campuses on Friday, May 17. Students, staff, and families assigned to these schools or student support facilities were told not to report to the buildings, although later in the day, teachers were in some cases asked to report to open campuses. Maintenance crews will be on-site to continue assessing and addressing the damage at these locations, the district said in an email. Campuses which were closed included: * Bear Creek Elementary * Cardiff Junior High * Cimarron Elementary * Fielder Elementary * Franz Elementary * Hayes Elementary * Hutsell Elementary * Katy Elementary * Katy Junior High

* Katy High School * Nottingham Country Elementary * McElwain Elementary * Memorial Parkway Elementary * Memorial Parkway Junior High * Raines Academy * Miller Career & Technology Center * Opportunity Awareness Center * Rhoads Elementary * Taylor High School * West Memorial Elementary * West Memorial Junior High * Winborn Elementary * Youngblood Elementary

All Katy ISD campuses and offices reopened on Monday.

Graduation ceremonies for Katy ISD high schools continued as scheduled, with the exception of the one for Paetow High School, which was moved Saturday morning, May 18, at 9:00 a.m. The Paetow HS commencement, originally scheduled for Thursday, May 16, was the district’s only Saturday morning graduation. “To ensure our Paetow Panthers have the same memorable experience as graduating seniors at other Katy ISD campuses, the district will stage the customary 45-second firework display at the conclusion of the ceremony,” said the district in an email.

Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management

The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) moved Saturday to Level 2 - High Readiness in response to the May Severe Winds and Tornadoes incident, continuing to support and coordinate recovery efforts following the severe weather. On May 17, 2024, President Joe Biden signed a disaster declaration for the State of Texas, allowing FEMA to provide Individual Assistance to those impacted by severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, and flooding.

Harris County Precinct 4

In response to Thursday’s devasting storm, Commissioner Lesley Briones opened four Harris County Precinct 4 community centers on Saturday, May 18, as places of refuge for any resident in need. Precinct 4’s storm recovery efforts included two types of centers: cooling centers provide fruit, snacks, and water to keep people refreshed as well as cellphone charging; and distribution centers offering disaster boxes, fruit, water, and cleaning supplies to aid in recovery.

Two of those centers – both of which were drive-up distribution centers – were located in the greater Katy area and were open on Sunday, May 19 as well. Radack Community Center, 18650 Clay Road, Houston, provided water, ice and food distribution; the Weekley Community Center, 8440 Greenhouse Road, Cypress, distributed food and water. An estimated 1500-1800 cars went through the Radack Center on Saturday, with 460 cars going through the Weekly Center that day, Precinct 4 said in a Sunday press release.

Additionally, Precinct 4 staff remain available to answer questions about disaster recovery resources, To learn more about these resources, go to cp4.harriscountytx.gov or call 832-927-4444 or email service@hcp4.net.

Harris County Library System cooling center

To help alleviate the needs of residents without power, the Harris County Public Library opened several on Sunday, May 19, to operate as Cooling Centers from 1-7pm, including the Katherine Tyra Branch Library at 16719 Clay Road in Houston.

Small Business Administration

Harris County residents impacted by the April and May severe weather, flooding, and tornadoes are also eligible to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans. The SBA offers disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters located in regions affected by declared disasters. SBA also provides eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations with working capital to help overcome the economic injury of a declared disaster.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information, and download applications at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services. The deadline to apply for loans to repair property damage is Tuesday, July 16, 2024, and economic injury is Tuesday, February 18, 2025.

severe weather event, Sunterra and Freeman Ranch, CenterPoint, https://www.centerpointenergy.com/en-us/corporate/about-us/news/1743#sthash.NbwA28MH.dpuf, disasterloanassistance.sba.gov, disastercustomerservice@sba.gov