Texas power outages approaching 1 week as heat, humidity hinder cleanup from Beryl

As Texans worked to clean up after Beryl on Thursday, they were dealing with intense heat and a fifth day without power. As residents try to stay cool with generators, carbon monoxide poisoning has killed at least two people in Harris County, according to CNN, which reported that fire departments have received more than 200 carbon monoxide poisoning calls in 24 hours.

CenterPoint Energy said the storm impacted the company's customers, systems and infrastructure more than it anticipated, resulting in outages to more than 2.26 million customers at its peak. The utility maintains the systems that deliver power to most residents in Harris and Fort Bend counties, along with several other areas of Greater Houston. According to the company, about 2.8 million Houston-area customers rely on CenterPoint. The destructive winds caused significant damage to parts of the electric grid, including hard-hit areas like Galveston, where 250 poles on a single circuit are down and Brazoria County, where hundreds of trees are uprooted and on power lines.

CenterPoint said it has restored power to more than 1.2 million customers impacted by Hurricane Beryl. The number of power outages dipped below 1 million by midday Friday, according to PowerOutage.US. Around 850,000 of the outages are CenterPoint customers.

In a statement on Thursday night, Centerpoint said it expects 80% of customers impacted by outages to have power restored by Sunday night. However, this means hundreds of thousands may still be left in the dark on Monday-one week after Beryl made landfall.

Utility crews work to restore electricity in Houston, Thursday, July 11, 2024. Officials say about 500,000 customers still won't have electricity into next week as wide outages from Hurricane Beryl persist. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)

With AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures hitting triple digits this week in cities like Houston, Galveston, Bay City, and Port Lavaca, Texas, time is of the essence.

"For those without power, the conditions can make daily routines to storm cleanup extremely difficult, if not dangerous. People are strongly urged to take breaks from the heat when and where they can and to stay hydrated if they must be outdoors." AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

"We understand how difficult it is for our customers to be without power, particularly in this summer heat," said Lynnae Wilson, Senior Vice President, Electric Business. "Having substantially completed our damage assessment and restoration of customers impacted by circuit-related outages, our crews are now focusing on repairing more localized damage, including in the hardest-hit areas.

According to CNN, Houston Mayor John Whitmire, whose home was also without power Monday, said CenterPoint and the city are "fully aware" of how pressing electricity restoration is.

"We're going to take care of every community. No community is favored over another community. Every Houstonian is important to us. We'll get your power on as quickly as possible," he said.

It's not just health that is a concern. With outages that could last for days, food in refrigerators or freezers will spoil. "We are struggling to have food, and losing that food would be difficult," Eva Costancio told The Associated Press. People are flocking to areas with power to fill up gas cans and fuel their generators and get food. "Fortunately, here it looks like things are moving pretty good about getting the power back online," Storm Chaster Aaron Jayjack said on Tuesday morning while at a gas station in Palacios, Texas. "My guess is they are trying to prioritize these locations, gas stations, supermarkets, the essential places, get that power up first."

To help customers who remain without power plan around their outages, CenterPoint Energy is providing estimated restoration times on its restoration status tracker.