Storm Beryl kills eight and cuts power for millions

At least eight people have died after Hurricane Beryl slammed into south-east Texas and Louisiana, knocking out power for nearly three million people.

Beryl hit the southern United States on Monday morning as a category one hurricane, but it has since been downgraded to a tropical depression.

Officials warned of destructive winds, up to 15in (38cm) of rain and "life-threatening" storm surges.

More than 1,100 flights were cancelled at Houston's main airport on Monday, according to

Some 2.3 million customers in Texas were without power as of Tuesday morning, said, with some cuts also reported in Louisiana and Arkansas.

CenterPoint Energy, a Texas-based utility provider, said it planned to restore power for at least one million customers by the end of Wednesday.

The storm also caused major destruction and at least 10 deaths in the Caribbean.

In the US, officials said seven people had died in Texas's Harris and Montgomery counties, while one more fatality was confirmed in neighbouring Louisiana.

A 53-year-old man died after winds downed power lines and knocked a tree on to his home in Harris County, causing his roof to collapse.

In the same county, which includes parts of Houston, 73-year-old grandmother Maria Loredo was reported dead after a tree crashed through the roof of her home, according to CBS affiliate KHOU.

Loredo's family told the news station she was home with her son, his wife, and her two grandchildren, ages two and seven, when the tree fell. No other family members were injured.

Also in Harris County, a Houston Police Department employee, Russell Richardson, 54, drowned after attempting to drive through high water on his way to work, according to Houston police.

Another person died in a house fire that is believed to have been sparked by lightning, Houston's mayor said.

Three people were also killed in Montgomery County. Officials say one man was killed when a tree fell on him while he was driving a tractor, and two homeless people died when a tree fell on their tent, reports KHOU.

Houston is a low-lying coastal city, making it prone to flooding.

Sustained wind speeds in the Houston area reached 75mph (120km/h) with wind gusts reaching 87mph as the storm struck.

Beryl is expected to continue to lose strength as it gradually tracks north-northeast, but flash flooding and heavy rain remain a risk, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In Louisiana, where over 20,000 people were without power due to the storm on Tuesday morning, one person was killed on Monday when a tree fell on her home in the town of Benton, according to a local sheriff.

A tree in Houston, Texas was toppled by Hurricane Beryl's fierce winds
A tree in Houston, Texas was toppled by Hurricane Beryl's fierce winds [Getty Images]

The National Weather Service (NWS) said Beryl spawned a tornado on Monday in Louisiana.

On Tuesday, the risk of twisters shifts to Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, said forecasters.

The ports of Corpus Christi, Houston, Galveston, Freeport and Texas City were all closed.

More than 2,500 emergency responders have been made ready to deal with Beryl's aftermath, including members of the Texas National Guard.

Beryl was expected to move east across America's central states, including Mississippi, later in the week.

It was forecast to skip central and west Texas, areas currently experiencing moderate to severe levels of drought.

The remains of a building flattened by Hurricane Beryl
Hurricane Beryl devastated places in the Caribbean, including Union Island in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines [nternational Organization for Migration/Reuters]

At one stage, Beryl became the earliest category five hurricane ever recorded.

In the Caribbean it hit St Vincent and the Grenadines, Mayreau and Union, and Grenada especially hard.

The storm was also one of the most powerful to ever pummel Jamaica.

Beryl brought heavy rain to the tourist hotspots of Cancún and Tulum in southern Mexico.

While it is difficult to attribute specific storms to climate change as the causes are complex, exceptionally high sea surface temperatures are seen as a key reason why Hurricane Beryl has been so powerful.

It is the first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season but the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned that the North Atlantic could get as many as seven major hurricanes this year - up from an average of three in a season.

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