Recovery after Beryl in Texas: amid persistent flooding and rising temperatures

Recovery after Beryl in Texas: amid persistent flooding and rising temperatures
Recovery after Beryl in Texas: amid persistent flooding and rising temperatures

After the storm, calm is difficult to reach Texas. After the passage of the hurricane Beryl Monday, which left at least four dead in the state and is the first of what is expected to be a historic storm, the risk of flooding persists while temperatures rise, driven by a heat wave affecting the entire country. State authorities estimate that restoring power to the nearly three million homes and businesses that lost power with the arrival of the Category 1 storm will take from a few days to two weeks.

Acting Gov. Dan Patrick, who is filling in for Greg Abbott while he is out of the country, announced that the energy company CenterPoint Energy will bring in thousands of additional workers to restore power. According to Patrick, the storm knocked out 10 transmission lines and many of the outages were caused by fallen trees. Falling trees on homes were responsible for two of the deaths attributed to the storm in Texas. Two other people died Monday: one in a house fire believed to have been caused by lightning and another who drowned in her car when it became submerged in floodwaters.

A destroyed house in Surfside Beach, after the hurricane.Kaylee Greenlee Beal (Reuters)

Although when Beryl The storm that made landfall in Texas on Monday was far from the Category 5 hurricane that had devastated Caribbean islands and lashed parts of Mexico days earlier. The tropical storm it became a few hours after reaching the U.S. coast still unleashed heavy rain. In a short time, floodwaters had trapped dozens of cars on streets and highways, and winds toppled hundreds of trees, already fragile from saturated soil. The storm will move further into the territory in the coming days and affect several other states. According to the National Hurricane Center, dangerous winds and flash flooding will continue as the storm advances.

As the black clouds of Beryl As the storms bid farewell to Texas and usher in the equally merciless summer sun, the urgency to restore power is more understandable. In the Houston metropolitan area, the fourth most populous city in the country, more than two million homes and businesses were without power due to storms for the second time this year, while temperatures are forecast to exceed 90 degrees F (32 ° C) as early as Tuesday. Residents are worried about losing food in their refrigerators and not being able to turn on their air conditioners, a basic recommendation for staying safe during heat waves.

In the city of Galveston, an island south of Houston, authorities warned of difficulties still to come. “While efforts are moving full steam ahead, we want residents to be aware and prepare for a potential power outage lasting several days. The estimate is between 72 hours and two weeks in some areas.”

Hotel workers walk through the hallways after the building suffered a power outage, July 8 in Galveston.Rich Matthews (REUTERS)

On Monday afternoon in Houston, the sound of chainsaws echoed as residents worked to clear streets and sidewalks of trees and branches blocking roads. But Acting Gov. Patrick warned that flooding could return later in the week if heavy rain falls on already heavily saturated areas. The next few days will be a time of uncertainty amid rain and heat.

The situation has also affected the state’s industrial engine. This area of ​​Texas has a large number of oil refineries and several companies announced that it was necessary to activate flare burning or flaring —the flaring of residual or preventive natural gas due to pressure changes at the plant—because of changes in the electricity supply. It is not yet clear how much gas was flared, or what impact this had on emissions.

Berylthe fastest storm to become a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic, killed at least 11 people as it barreled through the Caribbean toward Texas. The storm ripped off doors, windows and roofs with devastating winds and surges fueled by record-breaking Atlantic heat. On three occasions in the past week, Beryl increased its wind speeds by 35 miles per hour (56 km/h) in 24 hours or less, the official definition of rapid intensification.

The explosive growth of Beryl The storm is due to warm water from the Atlantic and Caribbean and is just a preview of what the Atlantic hurricane belt can expect for the rest of the season, experts have warned. In Jamaica, authorities said Monday that island residents will have to deal with food shortages after the hurricane season began. Beryl destroyed more than $6.4 million worth of crops and infrastructure.

A man looks at the damage to his neighbor’s yard in Bay City, Texas, on Monday.Eric Gay (AP)

In Louisiana, heavy bands of rain were expected and “the risk is going to be for heavy rainfall and the potential for flash flooding,” the National Weather Service said. State forecasters are also on the lookout for “fast-moving tornadoes,” said Donald Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, Louisiana. “It’s just a matter of exactly where it’s going to be,” Jones added. “It’s very difficult to predict more than an hour in advance.”

It is predicted that Beryl The storm will bring more rain and strong winds to other states in the coming days. One of them, Missouri, is already dealing with a wet summer. Heavy rains unrelated to the storm prompted several water rescues around the city of Columbia, where rivers and streams were already swollen before the storm’s expected arrival. Beryl on Tuesday.

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