Beryl knocks out power to nearly 2 million around Houston

MATAGORDA, Texas (AP) — Tropical Storm Beryl unleashed heavy rains and powerful winds across the state of Texas on Monday, knocking out power to more than 2 million homes and businesses and flooding streets with fast-rising waters as first responders raced to rescue stranded residents.

Beryl had already blazed a deadly trail through regions of mexico And the Caribbean before turning around and later slamming into the Texas coast as a Category 1 hurricane early Monday. At least two people were killed. The National Hurricane Center said high winds and flash flooding will continue as Beryl continues to move inland.

More than 2 million homes and businesses in the Houston area were without power, CenterPoint Energy officials said. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is acting in Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s absence, said crews can’t work to repair power lines until the winds die down.

“We haven’t really slept,” said Rosenberg resident Eva Costancio, looking at a large tree that had fallen on power lines in her neighborhood. She said she had been without power for about four hours and was worried the food in her refrigerator would spoil.

Jimmy May boards up windows as he prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Beryl, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Port Lavaca, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“We’re struggling to get food and losing that food would be hard,” she said.

High waters quickly began closing streets. In Houston, where previous storms had already occurred, devastated neighborhoodsTelevision networks on Monday broadcast the dramatic rescue of a man who climbed onto the roof of his van after it became stuck in fast-moving water. Rescue crews used a fire truck’s extension ladder to put a life jacket and tether on him before moving him to dry land.

Houston was under a flash flood warning for most of the morning as heavy rains continued to pound the city. Flood warnings were also in effect across much of the Texas coast, where a powerful storm surge pushed waters toward the coast and further inland as heavy rains continued to fall. Suni Jugueta, a Capt. with the Rosenberg Police Department in suburban Houston, said emergency officials made three water rescues overnight.

Rosenberg police also noted that one of their emergency vehicles was struck by a falling tree while returning from a rescue operation, and they urged people to stay off the roads. Video footage showed heavy flooding on streets in the island city of Galveston, and

Two people were killed after trees fell on their homes: a man in the Houston suburb of Humble and a woman in Harris County, authorities said. Hundreds of trees fell across the county, crushing vehicles and damaging homes, County 4 Constable Mark Herman said.

Patrick warned that flooding could last for several days as the storm continues to dump rain on already saturated ground.


People watch waves crash against the rocky ridge of 37th Street in Galveston, Texas, on Sunday, July 7, 2024. (Jennifer Reynolds/The Galveston County Daily News via AP)


Blake Braun loads his dog Dolly into his family’s vehicle as the outer bands of Tropical Storm Beryl begin to pound the coast, July 7, 2024, in Port O’Connor, Texas. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

“This is not a one-day event,” he said.

Beryl and the widespread power outages are just the latest blows for Houston, where nearly a million people lost power when deadly storms ravaged the region in May, killing eight people and paralyzing much of the city.

Texas officials warned residents across the coast to prepare for possible flooding, heavy rain and winds. Several coastal counties called for voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas. Local officials also banned beach camping and urged tourists traveling over the Fourth of July weekend to move their recreational vehicles out of coastal parks.

Tornadoes and flash flooding are also possible in eastern Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, the hurricane center said.

In the coastal town of Freeport, Texas, Patti Richardson said she was waiting out the storm in her 123-year-old home.

“We’re sitting in the middle of this. It feels like we’re in a train station, it’s so loud and it’s been going on for about four hours. We’re just hoping it holds up,” Richardson said. “You can feel the house shaking. It’s weird.”

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


Leo Cardin walks past a Confederate artillery battery as he watches storm clouds gather in front of Beryl, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Port Lavaca, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The first storm to turn into a Category 5 Hurricane In the Atlantic, Beryl caused at least 11 deaths as it barreled through the Caribbean en route to Texas. The storm ripped off doors, windows and roofs with devastating winds and a storm surge fueled by Atlantic heat record.

On three occasions in its single week of existence, Beryl saw its wind speed increase by 56 km/h (35 mph) in 24 hours or less, which meets the official definition of rapid intensification according to the weather service.

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

In Louisiana, heavy rain is expected throughout the day Monday and “the risk will be heavy rain and possible flash flooding,” National Weather Service meteorologist Donald Jones said during a Facebook Live briefing Monday morning.

Louisiana meteorologists are monitoring persistent rain bands, which could drop large amounts of rain wherever they materialize, as well as “fast-moving, progressive tornadoes,” said Donald Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

“It’s just a matter of knowing exactly where it’s going to happen,” Jones said. “It’s very difficult to predict more than an hour in advance.”

Last week, Beryl hit 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.


Clyde George, left, and his son Chris George board up their home before Tropical Storm Beryl arrives, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Port O’Connor, Texas. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Before hitting Mexico, Beryl caused damage in Jamaica, Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Three people were killed in Grenada, three in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, three in Venezuela and two in Jamaica.


Valerie Gonzalez reported from McAllen, Texas. Associated Press reporters Corey Williams in Detroit, Valerie Gonzales in McAllen, Texas, Margery A. Beck in Omaha, Nebraska, Hannah Schoenbaum in Salt Lake City and Julie Walker in New York contributed to this report.

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