Strong storms rip through Houston area

September 30, 2011 4:03:46 AM PDT
The Houston area needed rain and it sure got it Thursday. But the storms that moved through came with plenty of lightning and strong winds.

Early Thursday afternoon, we started seeing storms pop up on the radar north and west of town and by 4pm, a solid line of storms began to form that looked like it was heading right for the center of the city.

But as that line was about to move into downtown, it appeared to split apart, leaving the heaviest storms on the western portion of the viewing area.

In terms of rainfall, Chief Meteorologist Tim Heller tells us Eyewitness Storm Spotters reported up to an inch of rain. Linda Stahl, our Spotter who lives in Manvel, said the rain was "heavenly."

At the height of the storms, there were nearly 100,000 CenterPoint customers who had lost power. By 6:30pm, that number started coming down as the storms weakened. There were also significant flight delays reported at Bush IAH.

The storms came with an abundance of lightning, which is being blamed for at least a couple of house fires in southwest Houston. Reporter Christine Dobbyn reported from one of those fires near Cheena and Hillcroft, where lightning caused a fire that collapsed the second floor of the home. The family lost a lot of their belongings, including birthday presents for one of the residents, a one-year-old boy. But the family says they were fortunate that everyone was able to make it out safely.

Another fire a couple of miles away was also reportedly the result of a lightning strike. In that fire, firefighters went into defensive mode. There was at one point, a report of a missing firefighter. He was OK.

Earlier Thursday morning, storms popped up in Galveston and Chambers Counties, but the radar stayed clear until the afternoon storms moved in.

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