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Tropical Storm Beryl expected to slam Houston at near-hurricane strength, battering city with 8 inches of rain

Deadly Tropical Storm Beryl is growing rapidly more powerful as it barrels toward the south Texas coast — and it’s expected to slam Houston at near hurricane strength as the city braces for high impact.

The storm is forecast to begin lashing Houston late Sunday and move near the city on early Tuesday. It is expected to bring a 6 to 8-inch downpour to much of the area, potentially leading to flooding through Monday.

Beryl is forecast to bring intense rainfall, damaging winds, life-threatening storm surge and even possible tornadoes to the Lone Star region, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane killed 11 as it tore through the Caribbean last week, and is the earliest Category 5 storm on record.

It weakened to a tropical storm as it passed over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Friday.

But the weather system is forecast to strengthen again and regain hurricane status as it moves over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico toward Matagorda Bay, just north of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Meteorologists predict it will be at least a Category 1 storm, with wind speeds of 75 mph to 95 mph, but it could ramp up as high as a Category 3, with wind speeds of 111 mph to 129 mph, which would make it the strongest storm since the devastating Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

A hurricane warning has been declared for a large stretch of the coast from Baffin Bay, south of Corpus Christi, to Sargent, south of Houston, and storm surge warnings were also in effect. Other parts are under tropical storm warnings.

“We’re expecting the storm to make landfall somewhere on the Texas coast sometime Monday, if the current forecast is correct,” said Jack Beven, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

“Should that happen, it’ll most likely be a Category 1 hurricane.”

Texas officials warned people along the entire coastline to prepare for possible flooding, heavy rain and wind.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is acting governor while Gov. Greg Abbott is traveling in Taiwan, issued a preemptive disaster declaration for 121 counties.

“Beryl is a determined storm, and incoming winds and potential flooding will pose a serious threat to Texans who are in Beryl’s path at landfall and as it makes its way across the state for the following 24 hours,” Patrick said Saturday in a statement.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is acting governor while Gov. Greg Abbott is traveling in Taiwan, issued a preemptive disaster declaration for 121 counties.

Some cities have called for voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas prone to flooding.

More than 2,000 responders are prepared to respond to Beryl’s aftermath, including members of the Texas National Guard, search and rescue personnel tied to the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and others.

Before hitting Mexico, Beryl wrought destruction in Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados. Three people were reported dead in Grenada, three in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, three in Venezuela and two in Jamaica.

With wire reports


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