Beryl leaves trail of destruction as several US states face flooding threat

Authorities say storm could cause flash floods and tornadoes as it moves across large swaths of the United States.

A man surveys damage from Hurricane Beryl in Texas
A contractor surveys a home for structural damage after Hurricane Beryl moved through the area in Galveston, Texas, July 8 [Kaylee Greenlee Beal/Reuters]

Beryl has lashed the southern United States, leaving a trail of destruction across Texas and spurring authorities to warn of possible flash flooding in several other states.

In a Tuesday morning advisory, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Beryl could bring flash flooding “from the lower and mid-Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes” through Wednesday as it sweeps across swaths of the country.

Tornadoes are also possible in parts of Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, the NHC said.

Beryl made landfall in Texas as a Category 1 hurricane on Monday morning, bringing winds of 130km/h (80mph) to the coastal town of Matagorda before losing power as it churned inland.

At least six people were killed in Texas as a result of the storm, while one person died in Louisiana, authorities said.

Beryl, which was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm and then to a tropical depression, also knocked out power to millions of residents amid sweltering heat.

A view of flooded areas in Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Beryl
A flooded area in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl, in Houston, Texas, July 8 [@cjblain10 via X/via Reuters]

More than 2.3 million homes and businesses around the Texas city of Houston had no electricity on Tuesday morning, down from a peak of more than 2.7 million who suffered outages on Monday, according to

The lack of cooling to people’s homes, downed power lines and nonfunctioning traffic lights led officials to ask residents to stay home if possible. Texas state and local officials have warned it could take several days to fully restore power.

“Houstonians need to know we’re working around the clock so you will be safe,” Mayor John Whitmire said at a news conference on Monday, urging residents to also know the dangers of high water, to stay hydrated and to check on their neighbours.

Rose Michalec, 51, told the AFP news agency that Beryl blew down fences in her south Houston neighbourhood.

“For a Category 1 storm, it’s quite a bit of damage,” she said. “It’s more than we expected.”

In downtown Houston, several areas were completely inundated, including the park where 76-year-old Floyd Robinson usually walks.

“I’m seeing more of this kind of damaging water, than I’ve ever seen before,” he told AFP. “This is just the beginning of July and for us to have a storm of this magnitude is very rare.”

Beryl landed in the US after moving across several Caribbean countries, killing at least 11 people as it lashed the region with torrential rain and strong winds.

It is the first hurricane since the NHC began keeping records to reach the Category 4 level in June and the earliest to hit Category 5 in July.

It is rare for such a powerful storm to form this early in the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from early June to late November.

Scientists said climate change likely plays a role in the rapid intensification of storms such as Beryl because there is more energy in a warmer ocean for them to feed on.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies