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“Béryl” hits the southern United States and raises fears of flash floods

Photo: Melissa Phillip Houston Chronicle via Associated Press A 74-year-old woman died Monday in Houston when a tree fell on her home.

Moises Avila – Agence France-Presse in Houston

Posted at 7:17 a.m.

  • United States

Several US states are on flood alert Tuesday ahead of tropical storm Béryl, which has already left five dead in the south of the country.

Béryl could cause flash floods on Wednesday “from the lower and middle Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes” in the north of the country, as it sweeps across much of the United States, the US Hurricane Center (NHC) warned.< /p>

Tornadoes are also possible on Tuesday in certain southern regions, the organization warned in its latest bulletin.

After Having crossed the Caribbean, Béryl hit Texas on Monday as a Category 1 hurricane, bringing heavy rains that caused flooding and massive power outages.

Four people have died in the Houston area, according to the mayor of this large south Texas city and local police.

A municipal police employee died in the floods while trying to get to work, Mayor John Whitmire detailed, adding that another person died in a fire caused by lightning.< /p>

Two other deaths linked to falling trees were announced earlier Monday by authorities in the region.

Further north, in Benton County, Louisiana, a woman died after a tree fell on her home, local police said on Facebook.

Before reaching the United States, Béryl caused at least 10 deaths in the Caribbean and Venezuela, where it had reached category 5 on the Saffir scale -Simpson hurricane rating, the strongest.

It was downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday, with weakening winds, the NHC said.< /p>

But the danger remains present. Five tornadoes were recorded on Monday by meteorological services in Texas and the NHC notably warned of the risk of marine submersion on the coasts.

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Early phenomenon

In Houston, uprooted trees and electrical poles blocked the roads. Routes remained impassable because they were flooded.

“For a category 1 storm, it’s a lot of damage, it’s more than we expected,” city resident Rose Michalec told AFP. The fence on his house, like those of his neighbors, was torn off by recent gusts of wind.

“It’s only the beginning of July and “It's very rare that we have a storm of this magnitude,” said Floyd Robinson, 76, observing storm damage in a downtown park that was partly submerged by water.

In Texas, more than 2.4 million homes and businesses remained without power Monday evening, according to the poweroutage.us website, and residents were evacuated.

In the city's main airport, more than 1,100 flights were canceled on Monday according to the FlightAware website, with the US Hurricane Center (NHC) fearing tornadoes.

Along the Texas coast, AFP journalists saw several seaside houses and buildings whose roofs had been blown away by the winds.

Il It is extremely rare for a phenomenon of this power to occur so early in the season. Béryl is the earliest hurricane in 10 years to hit the United States, according to expert Michael Lowry.

For scientists, climate change, by warming ocean waters, makes the rapid intensification of storms more likely and increases the risk of more powerful hurricanes.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116