Beryl's fury turns deadly, leaves millions in the dark across Texas

The season's first hurricane unleashed deadly force this week, ravaging Texas and Louisiana, standing people in floodwaters and plunging millions into darkness.

AccuWeather estimates the total economic loss in the United States from Beryl is between $28 and 32 billion. This figure includes direct damage from the storm, job and wage losses, interruptions of the supply chain and flight delays and cancellations.

Texas took the brunt of Beryl as it crashed into the state before daybreak Monday, making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Matagorda, Texas.

At least eight fatalities have been reported in Texas and Louisiana, several of which occurred due to falling trees. One of the deaths was Russell Richardson, a civilian member of the Houston Police Department, who was caught in rising flood waters in Houston Monday.

"This was the most widespread damaging wind in the Houston Metro, likely since Hurricane Ike in 2008, with similar wind impacts in a lot of places," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said.

Widespread power outages emerged as the most significant long-term threat, leaving families in the dark long after Beryl's rain, wind and clouds had passed.

More than 2.9 million electric customers in Texas were without power at one point Monday afternoon after Beryl made landfall. Power was slowly being restored across the state in the wake of the storm, but outages midday Wednesday were still above 1.6 million, according to PowerOutage.us.

Intense heat and humidity paired with the outages created dangerous conditions that will persist throughout the week.

"We can handle it, but not the kids," Walter Perez told The Associated Press about the heat and humidity while at a cooling center in Houston.

Outages may last for days, which will not only be dangerous for those without access to air conditioners, but also families who are struggling with food security, as food being stored in refrigerators and freezers may spoil.

Beryl developed over the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, June 28, one day after AccuWeather warned that the first hurricane of the 2024 hurricane season was about to take shape. It quickly intensified into a powerful hurricane before making landfall on Carriacou Island on Monday, July 1.

It quickly evolved into a powerhouse hurricane, achieving Category 5 status with winds of 165 mph as it roared across the Caribbean. Beryl gradually lost wind intensity as it brushed Jamaica before making landfall in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. At least 11 people died on its journey across the Caribbean.

Category 5 Hurricane Beryl early on the morning of July 2, 2024.

Category 5 Hurricane Beryl early on the morning of July 2, 2024.

Due to the long-lived nature of Beryl and the sustained intensity of the storm, Beryl generated an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) of 35.1, according to Colorado State University.

ACE is a metric used by meteorologists to quantify both the intensity and longevity of tropical systems. Weak, short-lived tropical storms only produce a small amount of ACE, while monstrous, long-lived hurricane generate a high amount of ACE.

Beryl's ACE is higher than every single tropical storm and hurricane of 2023, with the exception of Lee, which had an ACE of 36.8.

AccuWeather continues to warn of a supercharged Atlantic hurricane season that will be busting with activity later this summer and into autumn.

Advertisement