Houston weather: 4 storm deaths confirmed by mayor Thursday

Four people died as a result of the severe weather in Houston on Thursday, Mayor John Whitmire confirms.

During a news conference on Thursday night, officials confirmed that two of the people killed were due to fallen trees and another died due to a crane accident on the east end.

Among those who died was a mother of four who was killed when a tree fell on her vehicle as the storm blew in, police say.

RELATED: Houston mother of four killed when tree fell on her SUV during storm

A man, in his 70s, was also killed when the strong winds knocked a crane onto the cement truck he was in, police say.

RELATED: Crane falls on cement truck during Houston storm, killing man

City and county officials urged drivers to stay off the roads on Thursday night and into Friday, so emergency crews can get to areas safely. 

Whitmire is urging all non-essential employees to stay home and work from home on Friday as Houston ISD canceled classes for Friday. 

FOX 26 Houston is now on the FOX LOCAL app available through Apple TV, Amazon FireTV, Roku, Google Android TV, and Vizio!

Whitmire said the city is currently getting assistance from the State of Texas saying that it's all hands on deck right now. 

Whitmire told FOX 26 in an interview that there were people at Minute Maid Park for the Astros game and at the Toyota Center, and they were being asked to turn around and do not go through downtown due to debris in the area and traffic lights being out.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo also released a statement late Thursday night saying, 

"I know that many people lived through and are still living through scary situations with the terrible strong winds that blew across our county tonight. What we know so far is that at least 4 people are reported dead, there are widespread power outages and infrastructure damage to the power grid, as well as significant property damage.

Our Harris County Precincts and Engineering Department are working overnight to clear as much roadway debris as possible, in partnership with our cities. Damage assessments are ongoing, and we cannot know how long it will take to clear debris without those assessments completed, but from initial reports the debris looks very significant.

In terms of the widespread power outages, I’ve spoken with senior officials from CenterPoint and they will be assessing damage overnight and into tomorrow. Multiple transmission towers are down on the west side of town, and 480,000 customers in our region are still without power. There are 1500 mutual assistance crews currently traveling to our area to help restore power to residents who are not dependent on the transmission lines. It seems like it will take longer to restore electricity for those on the west side of our county and around Cypress, given their reliance on the transmission lines but again, we will have more updates tomorrow.

We will work through the night alongside our local, regional and state partners so we can understand what we’re dealing with. Until we fully understand the magnitude of this incident, all cards are on the table to ensure we recover as quickly as possible. Our first responder partners are out supporting, and the various emergency response partners are making their way as they can through the debris to our Emergency Operations Center. Our precincts are focusing on the major thoroughfares so that Centerpoint crews can reach their destination. Please know everybody is working as hard as possible to support our community as we respond to this emergency.

Please check on the people you know, call 911 if you’re in danger, and call 311 to report debris or downed trees. Look out for updates from your school district on whether the district will operate Friday.

If residents have to drive, they should treat any non-functioning traffic signal as a four-way stop. Harris County is coordinating with school districts for closures tomorrow, so please check your ISD website for more information. To report debris or downed trees, please call 3-1-1. Residents should report any gas leaks to CenterPoint energy by calling 1-800-752-8036. As always, continue to check weather alerts and check Ready Harris for the latest updates."