Beryl weakens into tropical depression, brings flooding and risk of tornadoes over portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas (2024)

World

/ CBS/AP

Hurricane Beryl hammers Texas coast

Berylwas still posing a threat Tuesday even though it was a tropical depression after making landfall early Monday as a Category 1 hurricane.

Beryl slammed into the Gulf Coast of Texas between Galveston and Corpus Christi, just south of Houston, dumping heavy rain across the region and knocking out power to millions of homes and businesses.

By Monday evening, Beryl had weakened to a tropical depression and was causing flooding and bringing the risk of tornadoes across portions of eastern Texas, western Louisiana and Arkansas, the National Hurricane Center said. It warned of "deadly hazards" such as "downed power lines and carbon monoxide poisoning from improper generator use."

The hurricane center said Beryl is expected to weaken further, into a remnant low on Tuesday.

The center said, "Heavy rainfall of 2 to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts, is expected across portions of the lower and mid-Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes today into Wednesday and over the Northeast Wednesday into Wednesday night." Flash flooding is also possible.

CBS News senior weather and climate producer David Parkinson says, "The tornado threat continues today, with the area between Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati being a key spot to focus on."

The National Weather Service Houston office issued a heat advisory for Tuesday,saying on X, "Partly to mostly sunny skies, light winds and lingering moisture in the wake of Beryl will produce heat index values up to 105 degrees on Tuesday. While this would normally be below criteria for a Heat Advisory, the widespread loss of power and air conditioning across SE TX could make for dangerous conditions through the day. This will be especially true for those still cleaning up outside who may not have a chance to properly cool off."

As of 5 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Beryl was about 145 miles northeast of Tyler, Texas and 95 miles north of Shreveport, La. and hurrying northeast at 23 mph, according to the hurricane center. Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 30 mph.

Power outages across Texas topped 2.6 million customers by 7 p.m. local time, according to the tracking sitePowerOutage.us. That number was down slightly, to some 2.3 million as of 5 a.m. local time on Tuesday.

Around 3,400 flightswere canceled or delayed Monday, many originating or ending in Texas airports, as airlines felt the impact of the storm. As of 5 a.m. local time, there were 6 canceled flights and 155 cancelled flights and a handful of delays at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to FlightAware.com.

At least seven deaths from the storm have been reported in Texas.

In Harris County, the sheriff's office said Monday morning a man was dead after a tree fell on a home in Atascocita, which is in the Houston area. In a separate incident, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said a tree fell through the roof of a home, killing a 74-year-old woman. Houston Mayor John Whitmire said Monday evening that a volunteer was killed when his vehicle was submerged in flood water while he was on his way to help with the storm response, and a man was killed in a house fire blamed on Beryl.

Three people were also killed in Texas' Montgomery County. One man in his 40s was killed when he was hit by a falling tree while operating a tractor, the county's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said in a statement Monday night. Two more people were found dead in a tent in Magnolia, which is about 40 miles northwest of Houston, the office said.

One additional storm-related death was reported in Louisiana on Monday evening, where the Bossier Parish coroner said a 31-year-old woman died when a tree fell on her home in Benton, which is just north of Shreveport.

Storm forecast and impacts

Beryl lashed southeastern Texas with torrential downpours and powerful winds as it moved farther inland in the hours after landfall. But meteorologists said the potential storm surge — forecast to reach 6 feet in some areas — was among the greatest causes for concern.

On Monday evening, the National Hurricane Center said there was flooding and the risk of tornadoes in eastern Texas, western Louisiana and Arkansas. Even after the storm passes, the center urged people to be cautious of "deadly hazards" that could remain.

Beryl weakens into tropical depression, brings flooding and risk of tornadoes over portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas (1)

The hurricane center had warned earlier that "life-threatening storm surge, damaging winds and flooding rainfall" was spreading over southeastern Texas as Beryl tracked northward.

The hurricane center lifted all storm surge and tropical storm warnings for Texas as of Monday night. Warnings had earlier been in effect for a 255-mile stretch of southeastern coastal Texas.

Reporting from Galveston Monday morning, CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca said wind gusts of 70 mph had spun up a "nonstop" mix of sand and rain in the coastal city. Villafranca said that had been the case for several hours.

Beryl weakens into tropical depression, brings flooding and risk of tornadoes over portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas (2)

CBS News senior weather and climate producer David Parkinson said the Houston metropolitan area had been getting drenched with in 2-3 inches of per per hour.

Disaster declaration, closures and evacuations

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is serving as the state's acting governor while Gov. Greg Abbott is traveling overseas, issued a preemptive disaster declaration over the weekend for 121 counties.

Some areas were under mandatory evacuation orders.Refugio County, which is just north of Corpus Christi, ordered a mandatory evacuation on Saturday afternoon. Port Aransas, located on a barrier island in Nueces County just east of Corpus Christi, ordered a mandatory evacuation for all visitors beginning at noon Sunday. All Nueces County residents were also "strongly encouraged" to evacuate as well, county officials said.

Along with some mandatory evacuations, Texas coastal cities called for voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas prone to flooding, banned beach camping and urged tourists traveling on the July 4 holiday weekend to move recreational vehicles from coastal parks.

Beryl weakens into tropical depression, brings flooding and risk of tornadoes over portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas (3)

The Houston Independent School District announced it was closing all campuses and buildings on Monday and Tuesday due to the storm.

"All summer classes and activities are canceled, and all District activities and events – including professional development and recruiting sessions – are canceled," HISD said in a message to families and staff on Sunday evening.

Beryl's deadly, destructive path

Beryl caused at least 11 deaths as it passed through the Caribbean islands last week. Beryl then hit Tulum, Mexico, as aCategory 2hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm as it moved across the peninsula.

The head of Mexico's civil defense agency, Laura Velázquez, said Beryl hadn't caused any deaths or injuries there and that "damages were minor," though tens of thousands of people remained without power.

Beryl weakens into tropical depression, brings flooding and risk of tornadoes over portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas (4)

Tulum was plunged into darkness when the storm knocked out power as it came ashore. Screeching winds set off car alarms across the town. Wind and rain continued to whip the seaside city and surrounding areas Friday morning. Army brigades roved the streets of the tourist city, clearing fallen trees and power lines.

Beryl weakens into tropical depression, brings flooding and risk of tornadoes over portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas (5)

Although no dead or wounded have been reported, nearly half of Tulum continued to be without electricity, said Laura Velázquez, national coordinator of Mexican Civil Protection.

Before hitting Mexico and moving into the Gulf, Beryl had spread destruction in Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados. Three people have been reported dead in Grenada, three in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, three in Venezuela and two in Jamaica, officials said.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness promised swift relief for residents affected by Hurricane Beryl after visiting one of the worst-affected areas of the island, the southern parish of St Elizabeth on Thursday afternoon.

Beryl weakens into tropical depression, brings flooding and risk of tornadoes over portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas (6)

Earlier in the week, the hurricane damaged or destroyed 95% of homes on a pair of islands in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, jumbled fishing boats in Barbados and ripped off roofs and knocked out electricity in Jamaica.

On Union Island, part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a man who identified himself as Captain Baga described the storm's impact, including how he had filled two 2,000-gallon rubber water tanks in preparation.

"I strapped them down securely on six sides; and I watched the wind lift those tanks and take them away — filled with water," he said Thursday. "I'm a sailor and I never believed wind could do what I saw it do. If anyone (had) ever told me wind could do that, I would have told them they lie!"

Historic hurricane

Beryl was the earliest storm to developinto a Category 5 hurricanein the Atlantic, and was only the second Category 5 storm recorded in July since 2005, according to the hurricane center.

It took Beryl only 42 hours to strengthen from a tropical depression to a major hurricane, which is aCategory 3 storm or higher— a feat accomplished only six other times in Atlantic hurricane history, and with Sept. 1 as the earliest date, according to hurricane expert Sam Lillo.

Beryl was also the third Category 3 hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic in June, following Audrey in 1957 and Alma in 1966, hurricane specialist and storm surge expert Michael Lowry said.

"Beryl is an extremely dangerous and rare hurricane for this time of year in this area," he told the AP in a phone interview. "Unusual is an understatement," he said, calling Beryl historic.

Hurricane Ivan in 2004 was the last strongest hurricane to hit the southeast Caribbean, causing catastrophic damage in Grenada as a Category 3 storm.

Beryl is the second named storm in what is predicted to be a busy hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 in the Atlantic. Warm waters fueled Beryl, with ocean heat content in the deep Atlantic the highest on record for this time of year, according to Brian McNoldy, University of Miami tropical meteorology researcher.

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Beryl weakens into tropical depression, brings flooding and risk of tornadoes over portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas (2024)

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