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Winds, floods: storm Beryl hits the southern United States

After going through é the Caribbean, storm B&ryl hit Monday in Texas, bringing heavy rains that caused floods and massive power outages, and causeé the death of at least five people in the southern United States.

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 he was trying to get to work, detailed Mayor John Whitmire, specifying that a another person died in a fire caused by lightning.

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

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

Winds, floods: storm Beryl hits the southern United States

A tree felled by strong winds during the passage of Hurricane Beryl, on July 8, 2024 in Houston, Texas © Getty – Brandon Bell

Once classified as a hurricane, Beryl caused at least 10 deaths in the Caribbean and Venezuela before its passage in the United States.

During its passage in the Antilles, it had even reached category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, the highest.

It was downgraded on Monday as a tropical storm, with weakening winds, indicated the American Hurricane Center (NHC).

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

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Winds, floods: storm Beryl hits the southern United States

A motorist in heavy rain during the passage of Hurricane Beryl in Houston, July 8, 2024 in Texas © Getty – Brandon Bell

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

“For a category 1 storm, that's a lot of damage, it's more than we expected”, city ​​resident Rose Michalec told AFP. The fence of his house, like those of his neighbors, was torn down by the 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. partly engulfed by water.

In Texas, more than 2.4 million homes and businesses remained without electricity 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, the American Hurricane Center ( NHC) fearing tornadoes.

The state's acting governor, Dan Patrick, called on Texans to remain alert, listen to local authorities and leave the danger zone if possible.

Winds, floods: storm Beryl hits the southern United States

A tree fell on a car during storm Beryl, in Freeport, Texas, July 8, 2024 © AFP – Mark Felix

“This storm will be deadly for people directly in its path,” Mr. Patrick said at a press conference organized by state emergency services. “Believe me, you don't want to be in a Category 1 hurricane,” he added.

The White House said Sunday it was monitoring the situation.

According to the NHC, Béryl must move towards east Texas on Monday, before continuing its route towards Mississippi and Ohio on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“A steady weakening is expected” in the coming hours, the forecast service indicated in its latest bulletin.

It is extremely rare for a hurricane of this power to arrive this early in the season. Beryl is the earliest hurricane in 10 years to hit the United States, according to expert Michael Lowry.

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

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

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