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Beryl weakens to a tropical depression as it moves eastward out of Texas

Sherry Cothron and Jimmy May board windows as they prepare for Hurricane Beryl's arrival, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Port Lavaca, Texas.
Eric Gay
Sherry Cothron and Jimmy May board windows as they prepare for Hurricane Beryl's arrival, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Port Lavaca, Texas.

Updated July 08, 2024 at 05:20 AM ET

Beryl reached the central Texas coastline Monday morning as it returned to a hurricane-strength storm, spurring state officials to warn residents to prepare for the powerful storm's strong winds and heavy rainfall.

Beryl made landfall near Matagorda, Texas, as a Category 1 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. ET update.

Beryl was 85 miles south-southwest of Houston as it carried maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, the hurricane center said. The hurricane center warned of dangerous storm surges and strong winds with flash floods anticipated.

CenterPoint Energy says about 1 million customers are without power, according to AP.

Beryl is the earliest Atlantic storm in a calendar year to become a Category 5 hurricane. It left at least 11 people dead as it tore through the Caribbean last week.

Beryl briefly weakened into a tropical storm after passing through Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. But with Beryl’s newly regained hurricane-strength winds, the NHC has issued a litany of advisories for the area stretching from Galveston to Mesquite Bay to Corpus Christi. Storm surges could increase the water levels from 3 to 7 feet in those regions. Rainfall is forecasted to range from 5 to 15 inches.

“As Hurricane Beryl approaches the Texas coast, now is the time for Texans to make their final preparations to protect themselves and their property,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Sunday. “121 counties are already under state disaster declaration, and more may be added if conditions warrant.”

Patrick said more than 2,500 responders have been dispatched across the state, from departments including FEMA, parks and wildlife, health services and transportation.

On Sunday, Director of the Texas Division of Emergency Management Nim Kidd echoed Patrick in pleading with the public to take it seriously.

"There will be inland flooding, and what we find is this freshwater inland flooding tends to be more of a killer of our citizens than the actual storm surge," Kidd said. "So please, please do not drive through water. Turn around. Don't drown."

From Texas, Beryl is expected to move inland across Arkansas on Tuesday.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
James Doubek is an associate editor and reporter for NPR. He frequently covers breaking news for and NPR's hourly newscast. In 2018, he reported feature stories for NPR's business desk on topics including electric scooters, cryptocurrency, and small business owners who lost out when Amazon made a deal with Apple.
Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.