Beryl strengthens to Cat 1 hurricane as Texas coast residents brace for impact: Updates (2024)

Beryl's impacts – such as strong winds, heavy rain, and rough seas – will begin in South Texas well before landfall, which is expected early Monday.

Doyle Rice,Jorge L. OrtizUSA TODAY

Editor's note: This page reflects news on Hurricane Beryl from Sunday, July 7. For thelatest news on Hurricane Beryl, please follow USA TODAY'slive updates on the storm for Monday, July 8.

Beryl strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane as it marched toward the Texas coast, putting residents on edge as forecasters expect the storm to make landfall early Monday.

As of 1 a.m. CT on Monday, Beryl's maximum sustained winds increased to 80 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm was centered about 30 miles south-southeast of Matagorda and 95 miles east of Corpus Christi, Texas, with the "conditions deteriorating with dangerous storm surge, flash flooding, and strong winds expected."

But Beryl's impacts − such as strong winds, heavy rain, and rough seas − will begin in coastal Texas well before landfall, the center warned. The outer rain bands of Beryl began to reach the Texas coast on Sunday night, the center said on Sunday.

In most extreme cases, parts of Texas could see more than a foot of rain and winds approaching 100 mph. In addition to heavy rain and damaging winds, forecasters warned of a dangerous storm surge and flash flooding overnight along portions of the Texas coast.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a Sunday afternoon update that Beryl is expected to land between Corpus Christi and Galveston, although that could change. He urged Texans not to underestimate the storm.

"Don’t turn your back on Beryl," Patrick, the acting governor while Gov. Greg Abbott is on an international trip, said in a CNN interview. "This is a serious storm, and where it lands, there’s going to be significant devastation. Power will be out. Structures will be blown over and destroyed. Streets will be flooded by heavy rain, so take this storm very seriously."

In the storm's path, multiple local authorities told people to evacuate ahead of landfall. Residents boarded up windows, stocked up on supplies and some filled up on gas as they fled town.

The storm made landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Friday morning, after it hit the Windward Islands and Jamaica earlier that week, killing at least 11 people.

Developments:

∎The U.S. Coast Guard shut the port of Houston on Sunday afternoon in anticipation of Beryl. It also closed the ports of Texas City, Freeport, and Galveston in Texas.

∎Schools in southeast Texas announced issued closures for Monday as a precautionary measure. The Houston Independent School District — the largest school district in Texas — said all of its schools and offices would be closed on Monday and Tuesday.

∎In Corpus Christi, city officials advised residents "to stay indoors and secure outdoor objects to prevent damage," the Caller-Times, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported. The National Weather Service's local office warned of significant damaging winds in addition to rain and flooding.

Will Beryl hit Houston?

The nation's fourth-biggest city is in the crosshairs of Beryl.

The greater Houston area — particularly the western half of the metro area — will see "significant effects in the form of strong, battering winds in addition to heavy rainfall," said meteorologist Eric Berger on the SpaceCityWeather blog.

Rainfall totals could reach 15 inches in some areas, the weather service warned, which could lead to flash flooding.

Preparations for Beryl go beyond the coast

In the absence of Abbott, who’s on an official trip to Asian countries, Patrick issued a disaster declaration for 120 central and eastern counties and warned residents that Beryl’s dangers go beyond its powerful winds.

Inland locations like College Station and Texarkana, on the Arkansas border and hundreds of miles from the coast, could be subject to heavy rains and flash floods.

Beryl’s track runs all the way north to the Great Lakes, not as a hurricane but as a tropical rainstorm. "Rain bands and squalls located to the east and southeast of Beryl’s center will contain a lot of spinning motion, which can spawn tornadoes," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.

Other states likely to be impacted by intense rain through Tuesday include Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, AccuWeather said.

Texas officials have advised residents beyond the coast to fill up gas tanks, stock up on food and water, and stay in touch with relatives and friends. Patrick also advised that they keep up with updates and limit travel starting Monday.

Where is Beryl?

At 11 p.m. CT, the center of Beryl was about 105 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm, whose sustained winds had increased 75 mph, was expected to move northwest throughout Sunday, then turn north Monday.

Forecasters expect it to make landfall on the Texas coast early Monday. Hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge watches and warnings were in place along Texas' Gulf Coast, the hurricane center said. Storm surge in Texas could reach as high as 7 feet from Port O'Connor to Matagorda Bay and San Luis Pass.

Rainfall totals were forecast between 5 to 10 inches, with as much as 15 inches in some locations.

AccuWeather meteorologist Carl Erickson warned of strong winds: "Winds of a Category 1 hurricane range from 74 to 95 mph and will down trees, cause widespread power outages and significantly damage property. Power outages can last for days to weeks in the hardest-hit areas."

Beryl storm tracker

This forecast track shows the most likely path of the center of the storm. It does not illustrate the full width of the storm or its impacts, and the center of the storm is likely to travel outside the cone up to 33% of the time.

Texas gulf town in Beryl’s path braces, some flee

Kevin Maredia had only a couple of minutes to talk during a busy Sunday morning at the gas station and convenience store he manages in Palacios, Texas, a Gulf Coast town of 4,000 on Beryl’s path.

Concerned drivers had been stopping by to fill up their tanks, in many cases as they headed out of Palacios to escape the storm’s wrath. Other customers were getting supplies as they planned to hunker down and ride out what could be a Category 1 hurricane by the time it reached U.S. shores.

The store, about 10 blocks from a bay that may endure Beryl’s strongest winds, had its windows covered with plywood and will close at 7 p.m. Sunday instead of the usual midnight, Maredia said. The storm was a common topic of conversation, he added, sensing worry and even panic among some customers.

"People are leaving because they’re thinking the wind is coming this way," he said, adding: "So they’re getting out of town."

Could Beryl rapidly intensify to a Category 2 hurricane?

Meteorologists believe Beryl will be able to take advantage of the low winds and warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico to quickly regain hurricane status Sunday afternoon or evening.

Given the ideal conditions, the center warns, Beryl could even become a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 96 mph or more. The storm could undergo a period of rapid intensification in the hours right before it makes landfall, seeing more than a 35 mph increase in winds.

Similar rapid increases in winds took place in Beryl’s early stages, as it approached the Windward Islands and after it crossed into the Caribbean.

What's the difference between a Category 1 and a Category 2 hurricane?

Category 1 hurricanes have winds of74 to 95 mph. Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roofs, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap, and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles probably will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

Category 2hurricanes have winds of 96 to 110 mph. Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is likely, includingoutages that could last from several days to weeks.

Where will Beryl make landfall?

As the storm nears land, the core of strongest winds is expected to be centered around Matagorda Bay, but any shifts eastward in the track could shift the stronger winds as well, the National Weather Service in Houston said. The weather service is expecting tropical-storm-force winds up to the I-10 corridor, which could lead to large areas of power outages, downed trees, and roof damage.

Latest Beryl news:

  • Coast Guard says the storm may shut oil ports: The Coast Guard warned of possible Texas port closures from Corpus Christi to Houston and began restricting vessel traffic because of Beryl. Port closures could bring to a temporary halt shipments of crude oil to refineries and motor fuels from those plants.
  • Tornadoes are possible Sunday: Landfalling tropical storms and hurricanes often produce a tornado threat in bands of rain as they near the coast and move inland, Weather.com said, and Beryl will be no exception. The Storm Prediction Center said a few tornadoes will be possible along the middle to upper Texas Coast into southwest Louisiana as Tropical Storm Beryl approaches.

Beryl a record-setter

On Monday, Beryl made landfall in Grenada's Carriacou Island as a Category 4 hurricane, ravaging the southern Caribbean islands, flattening hundreds of buildings and killing at least six people. Later Monday night, it became the earliest Category 5 hurricane on record. Driven by record-high ocean temperatures, Beryl's rapid strengthening stunned experts.

Beryl also was the earliest Category 4 hurricane on record — before dropping to Category 3 on Monday — and is the first June major hurricane east of the Lesser Antilles on record.

If the storm does make landfall as a hurricane, Beryl would be the 10th hurricane to do so in July, Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University, wrote on X.

Contributing: Dinah Voyles Pulver, Jeanine Santucci, and Krystal Nurse, USA TODAY; Brandi D. Addison, USA TODAY NETWORK; Reuters

Beryl strengthens to Cat 1 hurricane as Texas coast residents brace for impact: Updates (2024)

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