At least 7 people killed as hurricane Beryl slammed Texas

HOUSTON, TX – At least seven people have died as Hurricane Beryl wreaked havoc across Texas and Louisiana, leaving a trail of destruction and initiating a massive recovery effort to restore power to millions. The storm, which made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with winds reaching 80 mph, has since been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone but continues to pose threats as it moves northeast.

In Harris County, Texas, a 53-year-old man and a 74-year-old woman lost their lives when trees fell onto their homes, according to local authorities. Montgomery County Emergency Management reported the deaths of three individuals: a man in his 40s who was struck by a tree while operating a tractor, and two people found deceased in a tent in a wooded area in Magnolia. Houston police confirmed that Russell Richardson, 54, an information security officer, died after being caught in rising floodwaters.

In Bossier Parish, Louisiana, northeast of Shreveport, a woman was killed when a tree fell on her house, Sheriff Julian Whittington stated. Acting Governor Dan Patrick announced that a federal emergency disaster declaration had been granted to Texas, following discussions with President Joe Biden, to assist in the recovery efforts.

The storm’s impact has left over 2.1 million customers without power, with CenterPoint Energy, the primary supplier for the Houston area, working tirelessly to restore connections. The company reported that it had reconnected 800,000 customers within 24 hours and aimed to restore another million by the end of Wednesday. However, high waters and fallen trees have complicated the efforts.

The National Weather Service issued flood watches for more than 25 million people from Arkansas to Michigan, predicting up to 5 inches of rain and severe thunderstorms, some capable of producing tornadoes. On Monday alone, there were a record 110 tornado warnings, including 67 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

In Wharton, Texas, Sarah Glass and her husband narrowly escaped injury when a massive tree crashed into their home, causing significant damage. “We were in the living room, and as I came into the kitchen, there was a big crash, and the ceiling had fallen in,” Glass recounted.

Houston has opened cooling centers amid a heat advisory, with temperatures expected to reach a heat index of 105 degrees. The widespread power outages have raised concerns about the safety and well-being of residents, particularly those without air conditioning.

Galveston Mayor Craig Brown reported no fatalities or serious injuries but noted extensive structural damage. Social media users have shared footage of the storm’s impact, including torrential rain in Houston, severe thunderstorms in St. Louis, Missouri, and flooding in Bryant, Arkansas.