Downtown Houston Riddled with Glass After Storm Tore Windows Out of High-Rise Buildings

Thursday evening’s storms wreaked havoc on downtown Houston, leaving shattered glass and debris from high-rise buildings strewn across the streets. The storm caused significant damage, blowing out windows and scattering tree limbs and insulation everywhere.

Mayor John Whitmire urged residents to stay home due to the dangerous conditions. “Downtown is a mess. It’s hazardous because of the broken glass and non-functioning traffic lights, so please stay at home,” he cautioned.

Eyewitnesses recounted their frightening experiences. “I was on the 25th floor when it happened,” one person recalled. “We could literally feel the building shake. Then the ceiling tiles started coming down.”

ABC13 Reporter Courtney Carpenter observed the aftermath, noting that at the corner of Louisiana Street and McKinney Street, the ground was covered with glass, tree limbs, and insulation. In other areas, street lights and signs dangled precariously from their wires, adding to the dangers.

Several high-rise buildings, including the Wells Fargo building, had windows blown out. The downtown Hyatt Regency hotel also sustained damage, with broken skylights allowing rain and debris to fall into the atrium. Despite this, no injuries were reported, and the hotel, along with Shula’s Steak House, continued to operate.

A smaller building on Congress at Travis, which houses a bar, lost an entire brick wall. Exposed wiring and fallen bricks covered the parking lot. It’s unclear if anyone was inside when the storm hit.

The storm struck downtown around 6 p.m., a time when many people were either leaving work or attending the Houston Astros game at Minute Maid Park. Video footage showed powerful winds tearing through the streets.

Mayor Whitmire requested that downtown businesses allow employees to work from home to aid in the cleanup efforts. “Stay at home tonight, stay at home tomorrow unless you’re an essential worker,” he emphasized. “City of Houston employees should work from home. HISD schools are closed, giving us a chance to fully focus on recovery.”

Tragically, at least four people lost their lives due to the storm, including one person who was killed when a tree fell on a home in the Heights.

Recovery efforts began early Friday morning, with Texas Department of Public Safety officials securing the area. ABC13 Chief Forecaster David Tillman called the storm the worst non-hurricane windstorm to hit Houston in at least 25 years.

Leave a Comment