Tropical Storm Beryl forecast to regain hurricane strength, threaten Texas


Tropical Storm Beryl's forecast cone as of 11 a.m. Saturday, July 6, 2024. (National Hurricane Center/Courtesy)
Tropical Storm Beryl’s forecast cone as of 11 a.m. Saturday, July 6, 2024. (National Hurricane Center/Courtesy)
Sun Sentinel favicon.Shira Moulten, Sun Sentinel reporter. (Photo/Amy Beth Bennett)Author

PUBLISHED: July 6, 2024 at 8:44 a.m. | UPDATED: July 6, 2024 at 11:05 a.m.

A hurricane watch and a storm surge watch are in place for parts of southern coastal Texas as Tropical Storm Beryl, which is in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, is forecast to approach the Mexico-Texas border at hurricane strength by Sunday.

Hurricane Beryl weakened to a tropical storm hours after it made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico early Friday morning and emerged in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico early Saturiday. Over the weekend, Beryl will cross the open water and head northwest, putting the southern half of Texas’ Gulf coast, including Corpus Christi, in its path late this weekend or early next week as a hurricane again.

A turn to the northwest is expected later today and then north-northwestward by Sunday night when strengthening is expected to begin.

The storm is expected to reach the same area that was soaked by Tropical Storm Alberto a few weeks ago.

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, Beryl was 460 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, with sustained winds of 60 mph, moving west-northwest at 12 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend out 125 miles from the center.

Its five-day path has its center targeting the Mexico-Texas border by late Sunday or early Monday as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph sustained winds and 105 mph gusts.

As of Saturday morning, a tropical storm warning is in effect for the Texas coast south of Baffin Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande River. A hurricane watch is in place from the mouth of the Rio Grande northward to San Luis Pass in Texas and from the northeastern coast from mainland Mexico from Barra el Mezquital to the mouth of the Rio Grande. A storm surge watch is in place from the mouth of the Rio Grande northward to High Island, Texas.

Additional watches and warnings will likely be issued for northeastern Mexico and the Texas coast later today.

Beryl was the earliest storm to strengthen into a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic, and the record-breaking storm left at least 11 people dead on islands in the eastern Caribbean.

Southern coastal areas of Texas including Corpus Christi Bay and north in Matagorda Bay could see between 3 and 5 feet of storm surge, according to the hurricane center. There’s a slight risk of flash flooding from Brownsville, Texas, north to Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Houston and the Dallas-Forth Worth area.

In Corpus Christi, where officials are bracing for the chance Beryl could bring with it possible coastal flooding, strong winds and dangerous rip currents, the city announced it had distributed 10,000 sandbags in less than two hours on Friday, exhausting its supply. The city had already distributed 14,000 sandbags Wednesday.

Earlier in the week, Beryl’s eye wall brushed by Jamaica’s southern coast on Wednesday, knocking out power and ripping roofs off homes. Prime Minister Andrew Holness said Jamaica had not seen the “worst of what could possibly happen.”

Sixty-five percent of the island remained without electricity, along with a lack of water and limited telecommunications. Government officials were assessing the damage, but it was hampered by the lack of communication mainly in southern parishes that suffered the most damage.

Jamaica was under a state of emergency as the island was declared a disaster zone hours before the impact of Hurricane Beryl. Holness said that the disaster zone declaration will remain for the next seven days.

The worst perhaps came earlier in Beryl’s trajectory when it smacked two small islands of the Lesser Antilles.

Michelle Forbes, the St. Vincent and Grenadines director of the National Emergency Management Organization, said that about 95% of homes in Mayreau and Union Island have been damaged by Hurricane Beryl.

Groups in South Florida are assisting in aiding the people in the islands, by gathering donations. Officials in Miramar and Lauderhill are spearheading the efforts this weekend.

Late Monday, Beryl became the earliest storm to develop into a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic and peaked at winds of 165 mph Tuesday before weakening to a still-destructive Category 4.

It was the first Category 4 storm to occur in June and the earliest Category 4 on record in the Atlantic Basin.

The storm strengthened from a tropical depression to a major hurricane in just 42 hours, which only six other Atlantic hurricanes have done, and never before September, according to hurricane expert Sam Lillo.

Beryl made landfall Monday in the Grenadine Islands north of Grenada as a powerful Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 mph, just shy of the minimum Category 5 threshold of 157 mph.

Information from The Associated Press was used to supplement this report.

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