Category 2 storm makes landfall in Texas

Hurricane Beryl made landfall in Texas with maximum wind gusts of 87 mph (140 kph), and officials warned of a “life-threatening” storm surge.

The Category 1 storm is expected to pack damaging winds and up to 15 inches (38 cm) of rain. Police began rescue operations Monday morning in one badly flooded Houston neighborhood.

The governor’s office has repeatedly urged residents not to underestimate the storm, with oil ports closed and flight schedules disrupted.

Beryl caused at least 10 deaths. After forming in the Caribbean Sea, it struck Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula before weakening into a tropical depression.

The hurricane warning was then raised again, and hurricane watches were issued for more than one million Texans as the storm approached.

The city of Galveston, southeast of Houston, issued a voluntary evacuation order for some areas.

More than 150,000 customers in the Lone Star State lost power just after 7am (1pm BST), according to tracking site poweroutage.us, but more than one million customers are still affected by the outage. According to Centrepointa local energy supplier.

At Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston’s largest airport, 973 flights were canceled, according to Flightaware.com.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said maximum sustained winds reached 80 miles (130 kilometers) per hour early Monday.

“Life-threatening storm surges and strong winds are occurring, with significant wind gusts and urban flooding expected,” it warned.

Officials say the hurricane may not be as powerful as the one in the Caribbean, but it could cause widespread power outages and disruption inland to Texas, as far away as Houston.

Michael Brennan, director of the National Hurricane Center, warned people living in the path of Hurricane Beryl to find safety until Monday because “hazardous conditions will remain after the center of Hurricane Beryl has passed.”

“There is a very high risk of flooding along the Gulf Coast of Texas, East Texas and Alcatex. [Arkansas-Texas] region.

“This very serious storm should not be ignored,” Acting Governor Dan Patrick said.

The ports of Corpus Christi, Houston, Galveston, Freeport and Texas City are all closed, which could temporarily halt exports.

All vessel movements and cargo handling are restricted.

Refugio County, north of Galveston, issued mandatory evacuations Saturday, citing limited emergency services staffing capacity, traffic congestion over the Fourth of July holiday and weakened area infrastructure from 2017’s Hurricane Harvey.

Meanwhile, Nueces County ordered mandatory evacuations of visitors and strongly encouraged local residents to evacuate as well.

Patrick announced that more than 2,000 emergency responders, including the Texas National Guard, were on standby to deal with Beryl’s aftermath.

According to US weather forecasting agency AccuWeather, it is unusual for this type of hurricane to make landfall in Texas in July.

Beryl is expected to move east across the central US states, including Mississippi, later this week.

Along the way, it will likely pass through central and western Texas, which is currently experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions.

Hurricane Beryl was an unprecedented storm, at one point becoming the fastest Category 5 hurricane on record.

The hurricane has already left devastating damage across the Caribbean, with islands such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mayreau, Union Island and Grenada being particularly hard hit.

The storm was one of the most powerful to hit Jamaica, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.

Beryl brought heavy rain to the southern Mexican tourist towns of Cancun and Tulum, where no major damage was reported, but strong winds downed trees and caused power outages.

While the causes are complex and it’s hard to attribute any particular storm to climate change, unusually high sea surface temperatures are thought to be the main reason Hurricane Beryl became so powerful.

This is the first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned that the North Atlantic could see as many as seven major hurricanes this year, up from an average of three per season.

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