Christmas Day storms turn dangerous across Houston area

An iWitness user sent us this picture of the damage that the Christmas morning storms left behind in her niece's backyard.
December 26, 2012 4:40:33 AM PST
Strong storms that moved across the Houston area Tuesday morning are being blamed for at least one death, thousands of power outages and plenty of damage.

Meteorologist Casey Curry says a powerful upper level storm system combined with a warm, moist air mass produced the dangerous weather. Parts of the ABC13 viewing area endured damaging winds, small hail and even faced the threat of tornadoes.

The storms are being blamed for a man's death in northwest Harris County. It happened around 9:30am in the 17600 block of North Eldridge Parkway.

Investigators say the man was trying to move a downed tree that was blocking the roadway when another one snapped and fell on top of him. He was taken to St. Lukes Hospital in The Vintage, where he was pronounced dead. His name has not been released, but we're told he's in his 20s.

In the Heights area, a knocked-down power line stretched across Interstate 10 at Washington, and road crews had shut down part of the highway to clear the scene.

And near the northern edge of Huntsville, downed power lines forced highway officials to close both directions of Interstate 45 for several hours until workers could clear that scene, according to the Walker County Sheriff's Office.

Reports of more downed trees and power lines also were made in parts of northwest, east and northeast Harris County.

In Montgomery County, power lines smoked and swayed in the wind for hours, and toppled trees lined some streets.

In Splendora, a tree fell on one home, busting through the bathroom window and causing thousands of dollars in damage.

"You could hear the wind just whistling, blowing. You could hear the hail all over the house. It was just crazy. It was literally crazy," Splendora resident Mindy Mitchell said.

In Kingwood, ABC13 cameras were rolling when the transformer of a downed power line combusted in the middle of a street in the Kings Mill neighborhood and startled just about everyone nearby.

"We heard a big pop and then all of a sudden we didn't have any electricity. It kept trying to come back on and then just nothing," Kingwood resident Mike Alexander said.

And then there were the power outages. At their peak, CenterPoint reported more than 75,500 customers had lost power during the storms, and Entergy reported about another 34,000.

Though the threat of severe weather is behind us, big changes are on the way, Curry said. She says bitter cold air is expected rush in from the north overnight, dropping our high temperatures to the mid-40s.

"Look for some of the coldest air of the season to settle into southeast Texas," Curry said. "Many of us will wake up to lows below freezing Wednesday morning."

By the afternoon, the high temperatures will struggle to reach 50 degrees, she said.

You can track any storms in the Houston area by downloading our free mobile apps. Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates as they happen.

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