Beryl makes landfall on Texas coast as a Category 1 hurricane, National Weather Service says

Beryl made landfall on the Texas coast near Matagorda early Monday with a dangerous storm surge and strong winds, the National Weather Service reported.

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).

Beryl strengthened and become a hurricane again late Sunday. The storm had weakened after leaving a path of deadly destruction through parts of Mexico and the Caribbean. In southern Texas, the storm’s outer bands lashed the coast with rain and intensifying winds Sunday as residents prepared for the storm’s arrival.

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

Beryl is expected to weaken to a tropical storm Monday and a tropical depression Tuesday, the weather service said, forecasting a turn to the northeast and increase in speed Monday night and Tuesday.

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.

People on the Texas coast boarded up windows and left beach towns under evacuation order. The storm was projected to come ashore early Monday in the middle of the Texas coast around Matagorda Bay, an area about 100 miles (161 kilometers) south of Houston, but officials cautioned the path could still change.

As the storm neared the coast, Texas officials warned Sunday it could cause power outages and flooding but also expressed worry that not enough residents and beach vacationers in Beryl’s path had heeded warnings to leave.

“One of the things that kind of trigger our concern a little bit, we’ve looked at all of the roads leaving the coast and the maps are still green,” said Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is serving as the state’s acting Governor while Gov. Greg Abbott is traveling overseas. “So we don’t see many people leaving.”

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.

In Port Lavaca, Jimmy May fastened plywood over the windows of his electrical supply company and said he wasn’t concerned about the possible storm surge. He recalled his business had escaped flooding in a previous hurricane that brought a 20-foot (6-meter) storm surge.

“In town, you know, if you’re in the low-lying areas, obviously, you need to get out of there,” he said.

At the nearby marina, Percy Roberts showed his neighbor Ken Waller how to properly secure his boat as heavy winds rolled in from the bay Sunday evening.

“This is actually going to be the first hurricane I’m going to be experiencing,” Waller said, noting he is a little nervous but feels safe following Roberts’ lead. “Pray for the best but expect the worst, I guess.”

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 on its way to Texas. The storm ripped off doors, windows and roofs with devastating winds and storm surge fueled by the Atlantic’s record warmth.

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.




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