Beryl Makes Landfall in Texas as a Category 1 Hurricane

Workers with the Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees remove lifeguard towers from the beach near 57th Street in Galveston, Texas on Sunday, as Tropical Storm Beryl churns toward the Texas Coast. (Jennifer Reynolds/The Galveston County Daily News via AP)

MATAGORDA, Texas (AP) — Power outages are mounting along the Texas coast after Beryl came ashore Monday and lashed Houston with heavy rains and powerful winds as the storm moved inland.

About 1 million homes and businesses were without power hours after Beryl made landfall, according to CenterPoint Energy in Houston. High waters quickly began to close streets across Houston and flood warnings were in effect across a wide stretch of the Texas coast.

The National Weather Service expected Beryl to weaken to a tropical storm Monday and a tropical depression Tuesday, forecasting a turn to the northeast and increase in speed Monday night and Tuesday. The storm reached the U.S. after leaving a trail of destruction over the last week in Mexico and the Caribbean.

The storm’s center hit land as a Category 1 hurricane around 4 a.m. Central Standard Time about 85 miles southwest of Houston with top sustained winds of 80 mph (128.7 kph) while moving north at 12 mph (19.3 kph), the National Weather Service reported.

High waters quickly began closing roads around Houston, which was again under flood warnings after heavy storms in recent months washed out neighborhoods and knocked out power across the nation’s fourth-largest city.

More than 1,000 flights have been canceled at Houston’s two airports, according to tracking data from FlightAware

Beryl dumped soaking rains across Houston after coming ashore and was expected to bring damaging winds into East Texas, near Louisiana, as the storm pushed north after making landfall.

“Beryl’s moving inland but this is not the end of the story yet,” said Jack Beven, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center.

Beryl strengthened and became a hurricane again late Sunday. The storm had weakened after leaving a path of deadly destruction through parts of Mexico and the Caribbean.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Texas coast from Mesquite Bay north to Port Bolivar, the center said.

The storm’s center is expected to move over eastern Texas on Monday and then through the lower Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather service said.

Tropical storm winds extended 115 miles (185 kilometers) from the center and the hurricane center warned residents to be prepared for possible flash flooding in parts of middle, upper and eastern Texas as well as Arkansas as the storm gradually turns to the north and then northeast later Monday.

Along the Texas coast, many residents and business owners took the typical storm precautions but also expressed uncertainty about the storm’s intensity.

Three times during its one week of life, Beryl has gained 35 mph (56 kph) in wind speed in 24 hours or less, the official weather service definition of rapid intensification.

Beryl’s explosive growth into an unprecedented early whopper of a storm indicates the hot water of the Atlantic and Caribbean and what the Atlantic hurricane belt can expect for the rest of the storm season, experts said.

Texas officials warned people along the entire coastline to prepare for possible flooding, heavy rain and wind. The hurricane warning extended from Baffin Bay, south of Corpus Christi, to Sargent, south of Houston.

Beryl lurked as another potential heavy rain event for Houston, where storms in recent months have knocked out power across the nation’s fourth-largest city and flooded neighborhoods. A flash flood watch was in effect for a wide swath of the Texas coast, where forecasters expected Beryl to dump as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain in some areas.

Potential storm surges between 4 and 7 feet (1.22 and 2.13 meters) above ground level were forecast around Matagorda. The warnings extended to the same coastal areas where Hurricane Harvey came ashore in 2017 as a Category 4 hurricane, far more powerful than Beryl’s expected intensity by the time the storm reaches landfall.

Those looking to catch a flight out of the area found a closing window for air travel as Beryl moved closer. Hundreds of flights from Houston’s two major commercial airports were delayed by midafternoon Sunday and dozens more canceled, according to FlightAware data.

The White House said Sunday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had sent emergency responders, search-and-rescue teams, bottled water and other resources along the coast.

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

Beryl battered Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane last week, toppling trees but causing no injuries or deaths before weakening to a tropical storm as it moved across the Yucatan Peninsula.

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

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!