Beryl Bears Down on Texas, Expected to Regain Hurricane Strength

A tree uprooted by Hurricane Beryl lays on a street in Tulum, Mexico, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

HOUSTON (AP) — Beryl was hurtling across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico on a collision course with Texas, forecast to pick up strength and regain hurricane status before nearing the coast Sunday and making landfall the following day with heavy rains, howling winds and dangerous storm surge.

A hurricane warning was declared for a large stretch of the coast from Baffin Bay, south of Corpus Christi, to Sargent, south of Houston, and storm surge warnings were also in effect. Other parts were under tropical storm warnings.

“We’re expecting the storm to make landfall somewhere on the Texas coast sometime Monday, if the current forecast is correct,” said Jack Beven, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. “Should that happen, it’ll most likely be a Category 1 hurricane.”

As of Saturday night, Beryl was about 330 miles southeast of Corpus Christi and had top sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was moving northwest at 13 mph.

The earliest storm to develop into a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic, Beryl caused at least 11 deaths as it passed through the Caribbean earlier in the week. It then battered Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane, toppling trees but causing no injuries or deaths before weakening to a tropical storm as it moved across the Yucatan Peninsula.

Texas officials warned people along the entire coastline to prepare for possible flooding, heavy rain and wind.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is acting governor while Gov. Greg Abbott is traveling in Taiwan, issued a preemptive disaster declaration for 121 counties.

“Beryl is a determined storm, and incoming winds and potential flooding will pose a serious threat to Texans who are in Beryl’s path at landfall and as it makes its way across the state for the following 24 hours,” Patrick said Saturday in a statement.

Some coastal cities called for voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding, banned beach camping and urged tourists traveling on the Fourth of July holiday weekend to move recreational vehicles from coastal parks.

In Corpus Christi, officials asked visitors to cut their trips short and return home early if possible. Residents were advised to secure homes by boarding up windows if necessary and using sandbags to guard against possible flooding.

In Refugio County, north of Corpus Christi, officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for its 6,700 residents.

Before hitting Mexico, Beryl wrought destruction in Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados. Three people were reported dead in Grenada, three in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, three in Venezuela and two in Jamaica.

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