With approximately 220,000 homes still without power following a series of storms that brought damage and power outages last week, restoring power continues to be a top priority, county and city officials said during a press conference May 20.

Current situation

Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey said more than half of the people without power due to last week’s storms live in Precinct 3, which is located largely in the northern portions of the county. Precinct 4—which covers the western-most portions of Harris County—was one of the areas hit hardest by the May 16 storm, Precinct 4 Commissioner Lesely Briones said.

County and city officials said they are working with CenterPoint Energy to restore power, which is being prioritized above removing storm debris, Ramsey said. A peak of 920,000 people across the Greater Houston area lost power as a result of the May 16 storm, Houston Mayor John Whitmire said.

“I know the community is tired of talking,” Whitmire said. “They want results. CenterPoint is doing everything they can. They are pulled in many directions.”

To see CenterPoint’s outage tracker as well as estimations on when power may be back in certain areas, click here.

What else?

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials will be working in Harris County this week, Briones said. County and city officials said they plan to meet with FEMA leaders the afternoon of May 20 to discuss:
  • Vouchers for temporary housing for some residents in the city of Houston affected by the storm
  • Ongoing storm recovery efforts
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County park-and-ride buses are also being deployed to help CenterPoint emergency responders, meaning park-and-ride services will be temporarily suspended—except for routes heading to the Texas Medical Center—said Elizabeth Gonzalez Brock, who serves as the city of Houston’s METRO chair.

Gonzalez Brock said the following METRO public transit closures and delays are still in effect for May 20:
  • The high-occupancy vehicle lane on Hwy. 290 is temporarily closed due to storm damage and lack of power
  • METRO’s green and purple railway lines have been restored, but the northern portion of the red line—running from Burnett Transit Center to the Northline Transit Center—is temporarily closed. A bus service will be used to cover this area instead.
  • Bus services may experience some delays due to storm debris.
For more METRO updates, click here.

Quote of note

Whitmire encouraged individuals and families in need of help, regardless of their immigration status, to call 311 for storm assistance or 911 for emergency assistance. No questions will be asked about their immigration status, he said.

“We have a lot to do in Houston for less-fortunate individuals, certainly the immigrant community,” Whitmire said. “They’re very hesitant to speak out, to ask for support. ... We’re treating everyone as we would want someone to treat our family. That’s the way Houstonians operate.”

Learn more

Cooling centers and supply distribution centers have been opened all over the Greater Houston area for those impacted by the storm, including a new distribution center at the Spring Branch Boys & Girls Club. Located at 8575 Pitner Road, Houston, the center will be turned into a cooling center once power is restored to the site, Briones said May 20. In the meantime, buses are being used at the site as temporary cooling shelters.

Those in need of a ride to a cooling shelter or other storm-related assistance can call 311. Officials asked that residents do not call 911 unless they are experiencing an emergency.

For mental health help, residents can call 713-970-7000.

Get involved

Companies or individuals looking to make donations for those impacted by the storm can visit www.precinct4forward.org.