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Beryl is expected to regain strength and slam into Texas as a hurricane, marking the first US landfall of the Atlantic season


By Dalia Faheid, CNN

(CNN) — Tropical Storm Beryl is expected to strengthen into a hurricane again before it reaches the South Texas coast on Monday, bringing damaging winds, life-threatening storm surge and dangerous flooding beginning late Sunday. It’s expected to mark the first US landfall storm of the 2024 Atlantic season. Here’s the latest:

• Beryl to hit Texas as a hurricane: Beryl is forecast to make landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 1 hurricane Monday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. Currently a tropical storm, Beryl is in the Gulf of Mexico about 245 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, fanning maximum winds of 60 mph as of 5 a.m. ET Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said. The state is likely to start seeing the effects of Beryl starting Sunday and several counties have already announced evacuation orders.

• Hurricane and storm surge alerts: Hurricane warnings are in effect for the Texas coast from Baffin Bay to Sargent, while the stretches south of Baffin Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande River, and north of Sargent to San Luis Pass, are under hurricane watches. A tropical storm warning is also in place for the area north of Sargent to High Island, and the Mexican coast from Barra el Mezquital to the Rio Grande. Storm surge warnings are in effect from the north entrance of the Padre Island National Seashore to High Island, including Corpus Christi Bay, Matagorda Bay and Galveston Bay. The Texas coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande River northward to North Entrance of the Padre Island National Seashore, as well as San Luis Pass to Sabine Pass are under storm surge watch.

• Dangerous storm surge along US Gulf Coast: Tropical storm conditions will begin to be felt along the western Gulf Coast on Sunday, with hurricane conditions expected later in the day. Storm surge up to 6 feet is forecast for parts of the Texas coast late Sunday night into Monday as rising waters push inland from the shoreline. Rip currents will also cause life-threatening beach conditions through Monday across much of the Gulf Coast.

• Flooding and damaging winds expected: Heavy rainfall of 5 to 10 inches, with localized amounts of 15 inches, is forecast across the Texas Gulf Coast and East Texas late Sunday through the middle of next week, the National Hurricane Center said. It’s expected to produce flash and urban flooding. Hurricane-force winds will hit the lower and middle Texas coast Sunday night and Monday. A few tornadoes could also occur along the Texas Coast Sunday afternoon and evening. “Preparations should be rushed to completion before tropical storm conditions begin late today,” the hurricane center said Sunday morning.

• At least nine dead due to Beryl: Beryl became the earliest Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic on record earlier this week. The storm killed at least nine people in the Caribbean, including two in Jamaica, three in Venezuela, three in Grenada and one person in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. After hammering several Caribbean islands, the storm unloaded strong winds, torrential rainfall and dangerous storm surge over much of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

• Beryl worsened by climate change: The abnormally warm ocean waters fueling Beryl’s intensification show this hurricane season will be far from normal. Beryl’s blow to Jamaica was worsened by climate change, a new rapid attribution analysis from ClimaMeter found. Modern storms like Beryl tracking close to Jamaica are capable of unloading 30% more rain and 10% stronger winds compared to the similar storms from 1979 to 2001 because of human-caused climate change, the study found.

• How to help those affected: Jamaican residents are assessing the damage after Beryl pounded the Caribbean island with destructive winds and storm surge. The storm killed two people in the country and left hundreds of thousands of homes without power. Beryl was the strongest storm to impact the country in more than 15 years. Beryl also caused major damage across the region, including in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and Grenada. Several charities are actively distributing aid throughout the region. Contribute to relief efforts here.

Texas officials ask coastal residents to be prepared to leave

Texas officials are urging residents to prepare before Beryl’s expected hit to coastal areas later this weekend.

“Everyone along the coast should be paying attention to this storm,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said during a briefing on Friday.

“We pray and we hope for nothing more than a rain event, but even a rain event may be very heavy,” Patrick said. “We prepare at the state for the worst-case scenario.”

Already, several counties have asked residents to evacuate due to the potentially dangerous conditions Beryl could bring. Gov. Greg Abbott has also issued severe weather disaster declarations for 40 counties, as the state contends with “heavy rainfall, flooding conditions, and strong tropical wind.”

Matagorda County issued a voluntary evacuation order ahead of Beryl’s arrival, the county’s Emergency Operation Center said on social media. The order calls for people to voluntarily evacuate coastal areas in the county, including Sargent, Matagorda and Palacios.

Aransas County issued an evacuation order for residents of “low-lying areas and flood-prone areas and persons with special needs requirements” at 6 p.m. local time. There are no emergency shelter facilities in the county, according to the county’s Facebook announcement, and “medical and emergency services will likely be affected by the effects of the predicted landfall of Hurricane Beryl.”

A mandatory evacuation was ordered Saturday afternoon for all residents of Refugio County, County Judge Jhiela Poynter announced in a Facebook post. The county has a population of more than 6,600 people.

Poynter said that they know how quickly things can escalate, given that they are still rebuilding infrastructure from when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017.

“I would rather be cautious and let Tropical Storm Beryl come crawling in with a little bit of rain and a little bit of wind to an empty Refugio County than the alternative if it were to strengthen more than the predictions, which we know has happened with several storms in the past,” Poynter said.

During the storm, the county’s local hospital will be rerouting emergency patients, city water will eventually be turned off and city ambulances and fire trucks will no longer be able to mobilize, Poynter said. City officials will provide bus transportation to an out-of-town emergency shelter for residents who are unable to evacuate on their own, Poynter said.

The City of Port Aransas, on Mustang Island, issued a mandatory visitor evacuation by noon Sunday, which does not include residents and property owners, according to the city.

In Kleberg County, Judge Rudy Madrid issued a “Voluntary Evacuation for Baffin Bay, Loyola Beach and all low lying areas,” according to a social media post from the city of Kingsville.

Nueces County Judge Connie Scott asked citizens on the coast in low-lying areas or who need assistance to evacuate due to the possibility of the storm making landfall in the area as a hurricane, the county posted on social media.

The National Weather Service in Corpus Christi is warning residents, “now would be the time to prepare” for Beryl as its track forecast is trending farther north along the Texas coast.

“Residents should really be aware that the earliest … arrival of the tropical storm force winds is predicted for Sunday afternoon,” Mayor Paulette Guajardo said on Friday.

The mayor declared a local state of disaster Saturday afternoon, taking effect immediately.

Guajardo asked those visiting the city for the Fourth of July weekend to “please consider returning at an earlier time if it’s what you feel you need to do.”

In Houston, the weather service is likewise asking people to stay vigilant.

“At this time, the main impacts for SE TX will remain increased rainfall (Mon/Tues) and the potential for tropical storm force winds (34kts) as early as Sun morning. Stay tuned and stay informed,” the weather service posted on X.

The city of Rockport issued voluntary evacuation orders for residents in low-lying areas and local officials are in touch with the state to place their residents on the registry for evacuations if necessary, police spokesperson Lee Brown told CNN on Saturday.

While no local hurricane shelter had been established in the area, charter buses will be ready to evacuate residents at the Aransas County Airport on Saturday evening, Brown said. Rockport, 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, suffered major damage from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Voluntary evacuations have been announced for some low-lying areas in Port Lavaca, northeast of Rockport. City spokesperson Tania French said about 1,000 people, mostly in beach areas, may be affected.

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CNN’s Gene Norman, Dave Alsup, Raja Razek, Monica Garrett, Michael Yoshida, Elise Hammond, Mary Gilbert, Eric Zerkel, Leigh Waldman, Rebekah Riess, Zoe Sottile, Sarah Dewberry and Ashley R. Williams contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: cnn-weather/environment

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