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Beryl approaches Texas coast growing before landfall, officials issue storm surge warnings

Forecasters predicted the possibility of tornados along the middle and upper Texas coast through Sunday night, and across eastern Texas and western Louisiana on Monday.
Texas coastal residents and business owners prepared for the first major hurricane of the 2024 season
Posted at 10:22 AM, Jul 07, 2024

Tropical Storm Beryl became "better organized" as it reached the U.S. Gulf Coast, centering on the Texas coastline, by Sunday — the storm was still working to reach hurricane strength again before making landfall, forecasters predicted.

A long stretch of Texas' shoreline — from Baffin Bay to San Luis Pass — was under a hurricane warning. The storm's outer bands were expected to start battering the U.S. coast by Sunday evening, while the storm's center would likely reach land by early on Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Officials issue storm surge warnings as winds speed up over the weekend — watch:

Beryl approaches Texas, officials issue storm surge warnings

Officials across the state's coastal counties issued voluntary evacuation orders and urged Fourth of July tourists still lingering along the beaches to leave as soon as possible.

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Judge Matt Sebesta of Brazoria County warned residents and others along the coast and in the path of the storm that once winds reached 40 mph or above, emergency workers would shelter in place and people would be on their own without access to emergency services during that time.
"An ambulance is not going to get out until the storm has passed," Sebesta said.

As of Sunday morning, Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, growing only slightly from Saturday. However, the National Hurricane Center said it would continue to strengthen Sunday before making landfall.

When it hits Texas, it will bring a life-threatening storm surge with it, forcasters said. Some areas could see a storm surge of up to six feet. Those conditions in combination with the tide, will bring a flood threat to areas that are normally dry.

Heavy rainfall totaling 5 to 10 inches is predicted to be widespread across portions of the middle and upper Texas Gulf Coast, starting Sunday.

Some tornadoes are possible along the middle and upper Texas coast through Sunday night and across eastern Texas and western Louisiana by Monday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Swells from the storm could lead to life-threatening rip currents at beaches across the Gulf of Mexico for a few days after the storm has passed.

Forecast cone for Beryl as of July 7, 2024
Forecast cone for Beryl as of July 7, 2024

Beryl was the earliest storm to develop into a major Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic this season, causing deadly devastation in the southeastern Caribbean. It's been blamed for at least 11 deaths across the Windward Islands, leveling most homes and buildings on several of the islands.

The storm weakened after hitting Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 2 hurricane on Friday. But, the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico gave it fuel that was expected to turn the storm into a hurricane again.