PHOTOS: San Antonio Sustains Damage, Power Outages After Storm
Sunrise on Friday morning illuminated parts of San Antonio that were prematurely plunged into darkness after powerful storms roared through the metro area. Winds of up to 70 mph left behind splintered trees, damaged vehicles and thousands of San Antonians without power.
CPS Energy reported 235,000 customers experienced either a momentary or sustained outages and about 17,000 customers were still without power Friday morning.
At a Friday press conference on the West Side, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at least 3,500 lightning strikes were recorded. "As a result," he said, "there's been extensive damage to our community's property." San Antonio Fire Department said the lightning ignited three structure fires.
STORM UPDATE:— Joey Palacios 😷 (@Joeycules) June 7, 2019
San Antonio Mayor @Ron_Nirenberg says 70 MPH winds and 3500 lightning strikes affected the electricity of a quarter of a million residents. Many still remain without power. City crews are working to remove debris and assist residents. @TPRNews. pic.twitter.com/onLr1da5eh
City Manager Erik Walsh explained that 911 received twice the number of calls normally seen on a Thursday afternoon and evening. He said 27 major accidents and 117 minor accidents were reported. The fire department also conducted one successful water rescue at I-10 and Culebra.
City officials reported the city would open senior centers and libraries as cooling centers for residents, and VIA would offer fare-free transport for riders who wish to visit the cooling centers. Triple-digit temperatures were forecast for the weekend.
Late Thursday afternoon, dark gray clouds grew on the metro area’s north and northeastern horizons, punctuated by flashes and bolts of lightning. The National Weather Service initially reported hail was possible and wind gusts might reach up to 60 mph before the fast-moving storms struck the area.
Once the storms passed over the city and the sun broke through the clouds, residents filled social media with pictures of marble-sized hail and of damaged trees and homes.
The City of San Antonio said its Fire, Transportation and Capital Improvements, and Solid Waste Management departments began removing debris Thursday evening. About 20 city response crews were on the streets.
“Our team will be working through the night to deal with the aftermath of the storm,” wrote Walsh in a press release. “Our first priority is to ensure that roads are passable, and we ask that residents be vigilant in reporting any issues to 311.”
"Crews," the city's press release added, "will come back and remove trees and bulky material from front yards once major roadways are cleared. This activity includes City crews cutting trees to appropriate size for pick-up."
San Antonio area residents shared images of the storm damage via social media Thursday and Friday. You may view them in the slideshow above.
While sunny skies returned Friday, forecasters warned rain would likely return to the region by next week.
"We do have chances for rain again on Sunday night," explained Yvette Benavides, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, "and we might be looking at some strong, potentially severe, storms with that as well."
Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.
Bri Kirkham, Norma Martinez, Lauren Terrazas and Kim Johnson contributed to this report.