Texas braces for heatwave after deadly tornado

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Texas braces for heatwave after deadly tornado

Millions of people in Texas are bracing for extreme temperatures over the weekend just days after a tornado killed three people in the state.

Temperatures have been climbing since Thursday, when a major storm system swept the southern US, also causing deaths in Florida and Mississippi.

Power is out for 400,000 customers in the South as of Friday evening.

Officials warn that the brutal heat will strain power grids as residents run their air conditioners.

The extreme temperatures come as the US prepares to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday on Monday, a federal holiday.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a heat advisory until Sunday, warning people in Texas that temperatures could feel as hot at 110F (43C) at times.

Cities across Texas have opened up cooling centres for vulnerable residents.

“Anyone ready for Winter yet?” NWS forecasters posted on Twitter on Friday, adding that heat records are expected to be broken over the weekend.

As the danger of storms subsides on Saturday evening, the risk of extreme heat across the region will remain, the NWS said.

The heat comes with a week to go before the summer season officially begins on 21 June.

In the small Texas town of Perryton, one person died in a mobile home park and two others were killed when a tornado devastated the downtown area on Thursday evening.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed an emergency order to expedite the state’s recovery efforts. A child was reportedly among those killed.

At least 30 mobile homes in Perryton, population 8,000, took a “direct hit” from the tornado and were damaged or destroyed, said a local fire chief.

At least 10 people were taken to hospital in critical condition, officials said, adding that one local hospital was forced to operate on a generator due to power outages.

Over 100 people have been treated for injuries in hospital.

In Florida, a woman died in the northern city of Pensacola after a tree fell on her home.

In Mississippi, a tree fell into a man’s garage, killing him as he was packing his car to travel to Georgia for his brother’s funeral.

About 174,000 customers were without electricity in Texas as of Friday evening, according to the Poweroutage.us website.

Some 152,000 more were in the dark in Louisiana, 107,000 in Mississippi and 25,000 in Florida.

The mayor of Eufaula, Alabama, told local media on Thursday that a tornado carved a nearly four-mile path through town, tearing down at least one building and toppling 40 trees.

This was the fourth time a twister hit the small town in as many years, the mayor said.

In neighbouring Georgia, two people narrowly escaped a house that collapsed during storms in the south-west of the state, the town’s sheriff was quoted as saying by local media.