Men board up a restaurant before the arrival of Beryl
Men board up a restaurant before the arrival of Beryl AFP

Over two million people were without power along the Texas coast as Beryl made landfall in the state as a Category 1 hurricane on Monday. According to The Associated Press, water levels quickly rose in Houston, leading to the closure of streets.

Flood warnings are also in effect along the coast with top sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, leading to the cancellation of 1,000 flights at Houston's two airports. Two people were reported

The storm was much more powerful last week, devastating Caribbean islands as a Category 4 hurricane and leaving over 10 people dead. It weakened over the past days before strengthening again late Sunday It is now expected to weaken to a tropical storm on Monday and a tropical depression on Tuesday.

"Beryl's moving inland but this is not the end of the story yet," said Jack Beven, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the acting Governor while Greg Abbott travels to Taiwan, issued a preemptive disaster declaration for 121 counties. However, as people boarded up windows and left beach towns, officials expressed concern about those who hadn't.

"One of the things that kind of trigger our concern a little bit, we've looked at all of the roads leaving the coast and the maps are still green," said Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, serving as acting governor while Greg Abbott is in a trip to Asia.

Beryl was the earliest storm to become a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic in any season, causing 11 deaths across Venezuela, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Barbados as a result. It also hit Mexico as a Category 2, being strong enough to topple trees but not causing injuries or deaths before weakening for the first time.

Studies have shown that climate change is one of the main factors of the appearance of such a strong storm so early in the hurricane season. Climate change is raising the likelihood that tropical storms and hurricanes rapidly intensify compared to decades ago, and they are making leaps in intensity too.

Earlier this year, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center predicted an above-normal hurricane season for 2024 which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year.

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