Storm Beryl kills three, knocks out power for 2.7 million in Texas

Storm Beryl kills three, knocks  out power for 2.7 million in Texas

HOUSTON--Tropical Storm Beryl brought howling winds and torrential rain to southeast Texas on Monday, killing at least three people, flooding highways, closing oil ports, cancelling more than 1,300 flights and knocking out power to more than 2.7 million homes and businesses.

  Beryl, the season's earliest Category 5 hurricane on record, weakened from a hurricane after pounding the coastal Texas town of Matagorda with dangerous storm surges and heavy rain before moving across Houston, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. The agency said conditions could spawn tornadoes in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

  The storm, which was expected to rapidly weaken as it moved inland, swept a destructive path through Jamaica, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines last week. It killed at least 11 in Mexico and the Caribbean and before reaching Texas, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick told reporters.

  In Texas, a 53-year-old man and a 74-year-old woman were killed in two incidents by trees that fell on their homes in the Houston area on Monday. A third person, a city of Houston employee going to work, drowned in an underpass, Patrick said.

  Oil refining activity slowed and some production sites were evacuated in the state that is the nation's biggest producer of U.S. oil and natural gas. "For those of you in northeast Texas, be aware. You will have tropical storm winds, maybe as late as midnight or 1 a.m. You will have flooding, you will have rain, and you need to stay off the roads," Patrick said.

  State officials had yet to assess the economic damage as officials remained on a rescue footing while powerful winds continued to blow. Restoring power would take several days, said Thomas Gleeson, chair of the Texas Public Utility Commission. 

  More than 2,500 first responders were deployed statewide, said Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
The Daily Herald

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