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A thunderstorm approaches Houston, Texas. (Image: telwink via Flickr)
A thunderstorm approaches Houston, Texas. (Image: telwink via Flickr)

Storms cause fire near Houston, power outages in South Texas

HOUSTON (AP) — Lingering thunderstorms were blamed for a fire that damaged an oil field equipment site Saturday near Houston and power outages in South Texas that left more than 50,000 homes and businesses without electricity.

Emergency officials said no injuries were immediately reported.

Corpus Christi opened a shelter for residents of an apartment complex displaced by Friday night’s strong winds and storms. Gusts of up to 70 mph were reported, the National Weather Service said.

Corpus Christi Assistant Fire Chief Rick Trevino said about 30 units were damaged but no one was hurt. He said cleanup continued Saturday.

“Mostly it’s just trying to deal with the power outages and stuff,” Trevino said.

AEP Texas reported more than 55,000 customers without electricity, from Corpus Christi and south to the Brownsville area.

A lightning strike apparently caused an early morning fire at an oil field equipment site in a rural area near Richmond, 20 miles southwest of Houston, Fort Bend County sheriff’s officials said. Sheriff’s deputies diverted traffic from the area as the fire burned several tanks and a grassy field. Crews took several hours to bring the fire under control.

Farther east, Interstate 10 near Beaumont reopened to traffic late Friday after being closed several days because of flooding that followed storms that occurred earlier in the month. I-10 was inspected for damage as the water receded.

The floodwaters had inundated some roads, swamped homes and unearthed dozens of caskets at a Southeast Texas cemetery. The Hollywood Cemetery in Orange, about 100 miles northeast of Houston, was flooded in a scene similar to what happened in 2008 during Hurricane Ike.

More rain was forecast for Saturday in the Corpus Christi area, but it was expected to ease by Sunday, the weather service said. In the Houston area, the forecast included a return to sunny skies Sunday, with highs in the 60s.

In related news, Saltwater spill caused by lightning.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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