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Hurricane Beryl lashes Texas coastline with flooding and strong winds

HOUSTON: Hurricane Beryl struck the southern US state of Texas on Monday, resulting in the deaths of at least two individuals and leaving millions without power due to strong winds and flooding.

The storm made landfall in Matagorda as a Category 1 hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm shortly thereafter, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

In Houston, home to 2.3 million residents, heavy rain and gusty winds caused significant impacts, with the NHC warning of dangerous storm surge, damaging winds, and widespread rainfall that could lead to life-threatening flooding across southeastern Texas.

“We must take Hurricane Beryl very seriously. Complacency is our greatest enemy,” emphasized Houston Mayor John Whitmire prior to the storm’s arrival.

As of midday Monday, approximately 2.6 million households were without power, as reported by poweroutage.us. Tragically, falling trees claimed the lives of two individuals in the Houston area: a 53-year-old man trapped under debris and a 74-year-old woman struck by a falling tree.

At George Bush Intercontinental Airport, over 500 flight cancellations were recorded by FlightAware, while the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings in the region.

The NHC forecasted rainfall totals up to 15 inches (38 centimeters) in certain Texas areas, posing a significant risk of flash flooding.

Parts of the Texas coast had been under hurricane and storm warnings since the weekend. Nueces County, home to Corpus Christi, urged tourists to evacuate, and Refugio County, still recovering from Hurricane Harvey in 2017, issued mandatory evacuation orders.

Meanwhile, Galveston city in southeast Houston issued voluntary evacuation orders, prompting traffic jams on social media as residents left the area.

Acting Governor Dan Patrick urged Texans to remain vigilant, follow local authorities’ guidance, and evacuate if advised.

“This storm poses a deadly threat to those directly in its path,” warned Patrick during a state emergency management briefing.

Beryl had previously left a trail of devastation across the Caribbean and Venezuela, causing casualties and destruction before reaching Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane.

Experts noted that Beryl’s intensity and early season formation are uncommon, with climate change likely contributing to the rapid strengthening of storms like Beryl due to warmer ocean temperatures.

This event marks the earliest hurricane landfall in Texas in a decade, underscoring the unusual start to the Atlantic hurricane season, which typically spans from June to November.

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