Hurricane Beryl Pounds Texas, Proves Forecasters Right

A few weeks ago, we warned you about the upcoming hurricane season. All the weather experts predicted a very active season. 

It didn’t take long for them to be proven right. Hurricane Beryl made landfall in southeastern Texas Monday morning. After pummeling the Windward Islands and the Caribbean.

Beryl was the earliest-ever Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. It wreaked havoc on those islands. 

And then on Central America and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula before reaching Texas. It killed at least 19 people, including 8 in Texas and Louisiana.

More Than 2.7 Million Lose Power

Beryl downgraded to a tropical storm as it neared Texas. But it gained strength and made landfall near Matagorda as a Category 1.

It brought 90-plus mph wind gusts and torrential rain. Plus life-threatening storm surge and dangerous flooding. More than 2.7 million Texans lost power. That’s according to CenterPoint Energy. And now dangerous levels of heat are descending on the state, with days or weeks before power is restored. 

Prior to the weekend, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued evacuation warnings. He asked Matagorda County residents to voluntarily evacuate. And others to be ready to evacuate on short notice.

The storm’s impact will be felt as far north as Missouri. And perhaps Illinois and even Michigan by the weekend. That’s after passing through parts of other states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. 

High Storm Surge = Life-Threatening Flooding

An average of about 70% of flights at Houston’s airports were canceled Monday. Another 84% of flights at Corpus Christi International Airport were also canceled.

Storm surge reached 5.5 feet on the northern end of Galveston Bay. And 4.5 feet of surge on the western side near Eagle Point.

Beryl made landfall in Texas earlier than any hurricane in close to 40 years. It remained a Category 1 hurricane for several hours after making landfall. It was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday afternoon and a tropical depression yesterday.

The Weather Prediction Center called the rainfall rates “extreme” and the floods “life-threatening." Water rescues were already occurring on Monday in Rosenberg, Texas and elsewhere.    

Torrential Downpours Soak Region

One Texas resident described the hard-falling rain as a “needle head.” She said it made her legs feel like they were “on fire because it stings.”

Much of eastern Texas saw 5 to 8 inches of rain. With localized amounts even higher before the storm moved north.

“I’m more worried about the rain than anything,” said another Texas resident. He added that his biggest concern was flooding.

The slow-moving storm lingered longer than expected in the Houston area. And forced the closure of oil ports.

Hurricane Season Begins With a Bang

Why did meteorologists and other weather experts predict an active hurricane season? Mainly because of the warm Atlantic Ocean temperatures.

Storms generated in warmer waters produce 30% more rain than storms in cooler waters. And 10% stronger winds. That’s according to ClimaMeter.

Climate specialists at Colorado State University (CSU) predicted 23 named storms during 2024. The average number during a recent 30-year period was 14.4.

They also forecast that 11 of those storms will reach hurricane strength. That means wind speeds of 74 miles per hour or greater. The average is 7.2 such storms.

Predictions for Season Are Ominous

The CSU weather folks also predicted five hurricanes will be major. (Beryl has since become the first.)

That means Category 3, 4 or 5, with sustained winds of 111 mph or higher. The average is 3.2 major hurricanes.

The 11 hurricanes forecast are two more than the CSU weather team has ever predicted. In 1995, they called for nine hurricanes and we ended up with 11.

The state most likely to face hurricanes in 2024 is Florida. But it’s very likely other states will also be heavily impacted. Including Texas, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Louisiana. Plus Alabama, Mississippi, and more up the East Coast.

And let’s not forget that in 2012, a total of 24 states were affected by Hurricane Sandy. That’s one-half of the contiguous states in America.

Tornadoes Set Stage for Hurricanes

Hurricane Beryl followed one of the worst-ever tornado seasons in America. As of July 5, 1,231 tornadoes had already been recorded in the U.S. in 2024. That’s about 200 more than last year at this time.

They’ve damaged and destroyed countless buildings and have killed at least 39 people. In just the past 10 days, 29 tornadoes have been reported in the U.S.

This tornado season got off to an accelerated start and hasn’t let up. That’s according to the National Weather Service. The number of tornadoes has far exceeded those in recent years.

The Midwest has been hit especially hard this spring and summer. Including Iowa, which has experienced some of the most severe tornadoes.

Beryl may be the first major hurricane of the season, but it’s unlikely to be the last. Tornadoes are certain to continue. No matter where you live, be ready with backup power.

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