Hurricane Beryl: Damaging winds and storm surge expected to hit South Texas

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Tropical Storm Beryl is expected to strengthen and become a hurricane again before it reaches the South Texas coast on Monday, bringing a risk of damaging winds, life-threatening storm surge and dangerous flooding beginning late Sunday. It’s expected to mark the first US landfall storm of the 2024 Atlantic season. Here’s the latest:

• Beryl expected to regain strength before landfall: Beryl is forecast to make landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 1 hurricane Monday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. Currently a tropical storm, Beryl is in the Gulf of Mexico about 275 miles southeast of Corpus Christi as of Sunday morning, with maximum winds of 60 mph. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the state is likely to start seeing the effects of Beryl starting Sunday into Monday.

• Hurricane and storm surge alerts: Hurricane warnings are in effect for the Texas coast from Baffin Bay to Sargent, while the stretches south of Baffin Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande River, and north of Sargent to San Luis Pass, are under hurricane watches. A tropical storm warning is also in place for the area north of Sargent to High Island, and the Mexican coast from Barra el Mezquital to the Rio Grande. Storm surge warnings are in effect from the north entrance of the Padre Island National Seashore to High Island, including Corpus Christi Bay, Matagorda Bay and Galveston Bay. The Texas coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande River northward to North Entrance of the Padre Island National Seashore, as well as San Luis Pass to Sabine Pass are under storm surge watch.

• Dangerous storm surge along US Gulf Coast: Tropical storm conditions will begin to be felt along the western Gulf Coast on Sunday, with hurricane conditions expected later in the day. Storm surge up to 6 feet is forecast for parts of the Texas coast late Sunday night into Monday. Heavy rainfall of 5 to 10 inches, with localized amounts of 15 inches, is forecast across the Texas Gulf Coast and East Texas late Sunday through the middle of next week, the National Hurricane Center said. It’s expected to produce flash and urban flooding. Hurricane-force winds will hit the lower and middle Texas coast Sunday night and Monday. Rip currents will cause life-threatening beach conditions through Monday across much of the Gulf Coast. A few tornadoes could also occur along the Texas Coast Sunday afternoon and evening.

A worker boards up windows at the Port Aransas Nature Preserve office ahead of Beryl’s landfall in Port Aransas, Texas, July 6, 2024. Eddie Seal/Bloomberg/Getty Images

• At least nine dead due to Beryl: Beryl became the earliest Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic on record earlier this week. The storm killed at least nine people in the Caribbean, including two in Jamaica, three in Venezuela, three in Grenada and one person in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. After hammering several Caribbean islands, the storm unloaded strong winds, torrential rainfall and dangerous storm surge over much of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

• Beryl worsened by climate change: The abnormally warm ocean waters fueling Beryl’s intensification show this hurricane season will be far from normal. Beryl’s blow to Jamaica was worsened by climate change, a new rapid attribution analysis from ClimaMeter found. Modern storms like Beryl tracking close to Jamaica are capable of unloading 30% more rain and 10% stronger winds compared to the similar storms from 1979 to 2001 because of human-caused climate change, the study found.

• How to help those affected: Jamaican residents are assessing the damage after Beryl pounded the Caribbean island with destructive winds and storm surge. The storm killed two people in the country and left hundreds of thousands of homes without power. Beryl was the strongest storm to impact the country in more than 15 years. Beryl also caused major damage across the region, including in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and Grenada. Several charities are actively distributing aid throughout the region. Contribute to relief efforts here.

Everton Evanks walks through his living room on Thursday, July 4, after the roof of the home was blown off by Hurricane Beryl’s winds in St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica. Joe Raedle/Getty Images Soldiers collect branches felled by Hurricane Beryl in Tulum, Mexico, on Friday. Fernando Llano/AP People sit on cots Thursday at the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica. The arena was serving as a shelter in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl. Collin Reid/AP A boat damaged by Hurricane Beryl lies on its side at a dock in Kingston on Thursday. Leo Hudson/AP Simone Francis gathers items from her home that were blown away by Hurricane Beryl in Old Harbor, Jamaica, on Thursday. Joe Raedle/Getty Images In preparation for Beryl, yachts are anchored in the Nichupté Lagoon in Cancun, Mexico, on Thursday. Paola Chiomante/Reuters A man walks past a fallen tree in Kingston, Jamaica, on Thursday. Marco Bello/Reuters A car is driven near storm damage in Kingston on Wednesday. Marco Bello/Reuters Workers install wood panels to cover glass doors at a hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Wednesday. Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters Evacuees from Union Island arrive Tuesday in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Lucanus Ollivierre/AP Homes are damaged on the island of Petite Martinique on Tuesday. Arthur Daniel/Reuters People walk near damaged vehicles in Cumanacoa, Venezuela on Tuesday. Samir Aponte/Reuters Waves from Hurricane Beryl hit the seawall in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Tuesday. Ricardo Hernandez/AP Pastor Winston Alleyne clears trees felled by Hurricane Beryl in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday. Lucanus Ollivierre/AP Fishing boats, damaged by Hurricane Beryl, sit in a heap Monday at the Bridgetown Fisheries in Barbados. Ricardo Mazalan/AP Sylvia Small waits to enter the Bridgetown Fisheries pier on Monday so she can check her boat’s damage in Barbados. Ricardo Mazalan/AP NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick shared this photo of the hurricane as seen from space on Monday. Looking at the hurricane with the camera gave him “both an eerie feeling and a high level of weather nerd excitement,” he said in a post on X Matthew Dominick/NASA Members of Barbados’ armed forces clear a street of sand Monday in Oistins, Barbados. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images A man clears water from a damaged restaurant Monday in Hastings, Barbados. Randy Brooks/AFP/Getty Images Brad Reinhart, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, tracks Hurricane Beryl on Monday. Joe Raedle/Getty Images People in Kingston, Jamaica, wait in line with groceries Monday as Beryl approaches. Gilbert Bellamy/Reuters A man boards up a shop window in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Sunday. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images In pictures: Record-breaking Hurricane Beryl Prev Next

Texas officials ask coastal residents to be prepared to leave

Texas officials are urging residents to prepare before Beryl’s expected hit to coastal areas later this weekend.

“Everyone along the coast should be paying attention to this storm,” Lt. Gov. Patrick said during a briefing on Friday.

“We pray and we hope for nothing more than a rain event, but even a rain event may be very heavy,” Patrick said. “We prepare at the state for the worst-case scenario.”

Already, several counties have asked residents to evacuate due to the potentially dangerous conditions Beryl could bring. Gov. Greg Abbott has also issued severe weather disaster declarations for 40 counties, as the state contends with “heavy rainfall, flooding conditions, and strong tropical wind.”

Matagorda County issued a voluntary evacuation order ahead of Beryl’s arrival, the county’s Emergency Operation Center said on social media. The order calls for people to voluntarily evacuate coastal areas in the county, including Sargent, Matagorda and Palacios.

Aransas County issued an evacuation order for residents of “low-lying areas and flood-prone areas and persons with special needs requirements” at 6 p.m. local time. There are no emergency shelter facilities in the county, according to the county’s Facebook announcement, and “medical and emergency services will likely be affected by the effects of the predicted landfall of Hurricane Beryl.”

A mandatory evacuation was ordered Saturday afternoon for all residents of Refugio County, County Judge Jhiela Poynter announced in a Facebook post. The county has a population of more than 6,600 people.

Poynter said that they know how quickly things can escalate, given that they are still rebuilding infrastructure from when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017.

“I would rather be cautious and let Tropical Storm Beryl come crawling in with a little bit of rain and a little bit of wind to an empty Refugio County than the alternative if it were to strengthen more than the predictions, which we know has happened with several storms in the past,” Poynter said.

During the storm, the county’s local hospital will be rerouting emergency patients, city water will eventually be turned off and city ambulances and fire trucks will no longer be able to mobilize, Poynter said. City officials will provide bus transportation to an out-of-town emergency shelter for residents who are unable to evacuate on their own, Poynter said.

The City of Port Aransas, on Mustang Island, issued a mandatory visitor evacuation by noon Sunday, which does not include residents and property owners, according to the city.

In Kleberg County, Judge Rudy Madrid issued a “Voluntary Evacuation for Baffin Bay, Loyola Beach and all low lying areas,” according to a social media post from the city of Kingsville.

Nueces County Judge Connie Scott asked citizens on the coast in low-lying areas or who need assistance to evacuate due to the possibility of the storm making landfall in the area as a hurricane, the county posted on social media.

The National Weather Service in Corpus Christi is warning residents, “now would be the time to prepare” for Beryl as its track forecast is trending farther north along the Texas coast.

“Residents should really be aware that the earliest … arrival of the tropical storm force winds is predicted for Sunday afternoon,” Mayor Paulette Guajardo said on Friday.

The mayor declared a local state of disaster Saturday afternoon, taking effect immediately.

Guajardo asked those visiting the city for the Fourth of July weekend to “please consider returning at an earlier time if it’s what you feel you need to do.”

In Houston, the weather service is likewise asking people to stay vigilant.

“At this time, the main impacts for SE TX will remain increased rainfall (Mon/Tues) and the potential for tropical storm force winds (34kts) as early as Sun morning. Stay tuned and stay informed,” the weather service posted on X.

The city of Rockport issued voluntary evacuation orders for residents in low-lying areas and local officials are in touch with the state to place their residents on the registry for evacuations if necessary, police spokesperson Lee Brown told CNN on Saturday.

While no local hurricane shelter had been established in the area, charter buses will be ready to evacuate residents at the Aransas County Airport on Saturday evening, Brown said. Rockport, 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, suffered major damage from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Voluntary evacuations have been announced for some low-lying areas in Port Lavaca, northeast of Rockport. City spokesperson Tania French said about 1,000 people, mostly in beach areas, may be affected.

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