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Nearly 2 million without power as Beryl moves through SE Texas

Hurricane Beryl lashes Texas with strong winds and heavy rain

Hurricane Beryl lashed Texas with strong winds and heavy rain on Monday as it churned inland, forcing the closure of oil ports, the cancellation of hundreds of flights, and leaving nearly 2 million homes and businesses without power.

Beryl, the season’s earliest Category 5 hurricane on record, made landfall near the coastal town of Matagorda, Texas early in the day. The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that the hurricane pounded the coast with dangerous storm surges and heavy rain.

The storm, which was expected to rapidly weaken as it moved inland, swept a destructive path through Jamaica, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines last week, killing at least 11 people and toppling buildings and power lines.

In Texas, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez stated on social media platform X that preliminary information indicated one person died after a tree fell on a house.

In Texas, the biggest U.S. oil and natural gas-producing state, the energy industry braced for Beryl’s impact. The powerful storm slowed refining activity and prompted the evacuation of some production sites.

“Life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall are ongoing across portions of Texas. Damaging winds ongoing along the coast, with strong winds moving inland,” the NHC said, adding that Beryl was now expected to lose power.

Following warnings that it could be a deadly storm for communities in its path, residents rushed to board up windows and stock up on fuel and other essential supplies. Before daybreak, strong gusts and torrential rain lashed cities and towns such as Galveston, Sargent, Lake Jackson, and Freeport, television footage showed.

The storm had strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane as it crossed the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall, but the NHC said it was now expected to weaken rapidly.