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Power outages continue across the southern U.S. as a heat wave grips Texas

Forrest Avenue, in the South Highland neighborhood, is dark except for streetlights in the early hours of Saturday, June 17, 2023, following a storm, in Shreveport, La.
Henrietta Wildsmith
Forrest Avenue, in the South Highland neighborhood, is dark except for streetlights in the early hours of Saturday, June 17, 2023, following a storm, in Shreveport, La.

AUSTIN, Texas — More than 300,000 customers in the southern U.S. remained without power Monday following damaging weekend storms, leaving residents searching for relief as sweltering temperatures continued to scorch the region.

At least one person in Oklahoma died due to the prolonged outages, officials said.

The bulk of outages were in Oklahoma, where heavy storms Saturday night carried winds as strong as 80 mph around Tulsa, according to the National Weather Service. About 165,000 customers around the city still had no power Monday as crews scrambled to repair more than 700 broken poles and downed wires, said Amy Brown, a spokeswoman for Public Service Company of Oklahoma.

One person who used a respirator died because of the power outage, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said at a city news conference.

Power providers warned that some outages may not be fixed until the end of the week, and Bynum urged residents to keep in mind family and neighbors who are reliant on electronic medical equipment.

"Please check on them," he said.

In all, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana had more than 300,000 customers without electricity as of Monday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us.

In Louisiana, officials closed nearly two dozen state offices Monday because of the risks of severe weather. On top of the outages, a heat wave continued bringing dangerous triple-digit temperatures to Texas, and some parts of the state were under excessive heat warnings that were set to continue through at least Wednesday.

"It's been unbearable," Leigh Johnson, a resident of Mount Vernon, Texas, told Dallas television station KXAS. She had not had power for about three days.

"It's been horrible because it's like, the heat index has been so bad that literally, we're having to sit in the cold baths to cool ourselves down. Our animals as well, we're having to stick them in the bathtub just to keep them from having a heat stroke, it's been that bad," she said.

About 4,000 customers were also still waiting for electricity to come back in the Texas town of Perryton after a devastating tornado ripped through last week.

Power outages also extended to Mississippi, where some people had trouble obtaining medication after power forced pharmacies and grocery stores to close, according to WLBT-TV. As crews were working to restore power in Mississippi, multiple tornadoes swept through the state overnight into Monday, killing one and injuring nearly two dozen.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]

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