July 14, 2024

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Nine dead as Hurricane Beryl turns into tropical storm in Texas

Nine dead as Hurricane Beryl turns into tropical storm in Texas


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The death toll from Hurricane Beryl rose to nine after two people were killed Monday by falling trees in Texas, where it made landfall as a hurricane causing flooding and destruction but was downgraded to a tropical storm.

“A tree fell on a house and a man was trapped under the debris. (…) One person has been confirmed dead,” said Ed Gonzalez, sheriff of Harris County, the jurisdiction in which Houston belongs. The 53-year-old man died but his wife and children were rescued.

In another incident, “a tree fell on a house, hitting a 74-year-old woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene,” the sheriff said.

Houston was hit by heavy rain and strong winds on Monday. Multiple flooding was recorded across the city, according to images released by authorities and local media.

Authorities shared images of fallen trees on vehicles, flooded roads, trapped cars and destruction on social network X.

At least one driver who was trapped in his car on a flooded road in Houston has been rescued.

“Life-threatening storm surges, wind gusts, flooding and rain continue over eastern Texas,” the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned Monday.

Tornado warnings were issued for parts of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

As it passed through the Caribbean last week, the phenomenon has already claimed seven more lives: three in Grenada, where it made landfall on Monday; one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and three in Venezuela.

-Losing his strength-

Baril initially became a powerful hurricane a week ago with winds of up to 250 kilometers per hour, then weakened to a tropical storm on Friday after making landfall in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, where it left only material damage.

But on Sunday night, as it was making its way to the United States, it regained strength before entering Texas.

Burrell made landfall early Monday near the resort town of Matagorda in the county of the same name, southwest of Houston, with winds approaching 80 mph (130 kph), making it a Category 1 hurricane (with winds of 73 to 93 mph).

But, as expected, the power went out hours after it entered continental territory.

“Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts,” a detailed report from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

With this strength, it has transformed from a hurricane to a tropical storm. The latest update indicates that the wind speed is 104 km/h.

“Continued weakening is expected and Beryl is forecast to become a post-tropical cyclone on Tuesday,” the NHC explained.

Beryl was moving at 20 km/h and is expected to turn northeast over the next few hours.

-Without energy-

Authorities expected power outages due to the hurricane. More than 2.6 million customers in Texas were without power Monday morning, according to poweroutage.us.

Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport said several flights have been canceled due to bad weather. Flight Aware reported 1,061 cancellations at the terminal on Monday.

Because of the storm’s strength and heavy rains, emergency agencies maintained flood alerts in some areas of Texas, including Houston, a city of 2.3 million people, which is near the path of the hurricane’s eye.

Images taken by hurricane hunters on Monday from the town of Sargent, between Corpus Christi and Galveston, near Matagorda, showed homes surrounded by water.

Some coastal cities in Nueces County, where Corpus Christi is located, and neighboring Refugio County, have ordered evacuations.

-East direction-

On the forecast path, Beryl’s center will move toward East Texas. [este lunes por la noche]”Then move through the Mississippi Valley toward the Ohio Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday,” the National Hurricane Center said.

The White House confirmed that it is monitoring the situation.

Beryl is the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, which runs from early June to late November, and has impressed experts with its speed and intensity.

Scientists believe that climate change, which is causing water temperatures to rise, is encouraging these storms and making them more likely to intensify quickly.

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