Texas coast braces for possible Hurricane Beryl. The storm is expected to regain hurricane strength

TULUM, Mexico (AP) — Texas officials are urging coastal residents to prepare for a possible hit from Hurricane Beryl as the storm is expected to regain hurricane strength.

Since hitting Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Beryl has returned to warm water Gulf of Mexico where the hurricane is expected to regain strength on Saturday.

“We expect the storm to make landfall somewhere on the Texas coast sometime Monday if current forecasts hold true,” said Jack Beven, lead hurricane forecaster at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. “If that happens, it will likely be a Category 1 hurricane.”

First storm to develop into Category 5 hurricane In the Atlantic, Hurricane Beryl killed at least 11 people as it barreled through the Caribbean earlier in the week. It then hit Mexico as a Category 2 HurricaneHurricane Harley David downed trees but caused no injuries or deaths before weakening to a tropical storm as it moved across the peninsula.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center late Friday forecast that Hurricane Beryl would strengthen Saturday before making landfall, prompting an expanded hurricane and storm surge warning. A hurricane warning is expected to be issued later Sunday, Bevin said.

He added that the storm will bring a dangerous storm surge, causing flooding in parts of the Texas coast, strong hurricane-like winds in a small area, and tropical storm conditions with heavy rains in much of the rest of the Texas coast.

The center warned that there is an “increased risk of hurricane-force winds and life-threatening storm surges in portions of northeastern Mexico and the lower and central Texas coast late Sunday and Monday.”

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Officials in Texas warned the entire coast of the state of possible flooding, heavy rain and winds as they waited for a more definitive path for the storm. The hurricane center on Friday issued hurricane and storm surge warnings for the Texas coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande north to the San Luis Pass, less than 80 miles (128.75 kilometers) south of Houston.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is acting governor while Gov. Greg Abbott travels to Taiwan, has issued a preemptive disaster declaration for 40 counties.

“Everyone along the Texas coast should be aware of this storm. We are hoping and praying for just rain,” Patrick said.

Some coastal Texas cities have called for voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas prone to flooding, banned beach camping and urged Fourth of July holidaymakers to move recreational vehicles from coastal parks. In Corpus Christi, city officials said they distributed 10,000 sandbags in less than two hours on Friday, depleting their supply.

Beryl is already widespread. Destruction in JamaicaSt. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados this week. Officials reported three deaths in Grenada, three in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, three in Venezuela and two in Jamaica.

Mexican authorities had moved some tourists and residents from low-lying areas around the Yucatan Peninsula before the hurricane made landfall, but tens of thousands remained there to endure strong winds and storm surges. Much of the area around Tulum is just a few meters above sea level.

The city was plunged into darkness as the storm knocked out power as it came ashore. Strong winds set off sirens in cars across the city. Wind and rain continued to batter the coastal city and surrounding areas Friday morning. Army brigades patrolled the streets of the tourist city, clearing downed trees and power lines.

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After seeing Beryl tear through the Caribbean, 37-year-old Lucia Najera Balcasa was among those who stocked up on food and hid in their homes.

“Thank God, we woke up this morning and everything was fine. The streets are a disaster, but here we clean them up,” she said.

Although no deaths or injuries were reported, nearly half of the city of Tulum remained without power, said Laura Velasquez, Mexico’s civil protection coordinator.

While many in the Yucatan Peninsula took a deep breath, Jamaica and other islands hit by the hurricane were still reeling. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness promised rapid relief to residents after visiting one of the island’s hardest-hit areas, the southern parish of St. Elizabeth, on Thursday.

Before the storm hit Mexico, officials set up shelters in schools and hotels. As the winds began to whip up the beaches of Tulum on Thursday, officials in SUVs with loudspeakers drove across the sand, urging people to leave, and authorities evacuated beachfront hotels. sea ​​turtle eggs Until they were moved away from the storm-threatened shores.

Tourists also took precautions. Lara Marsters, 54, a psychotherapist from Boise, Idaho, visiting Tulum, said she filled empty water bottles from the tap.

“We will commit to staying in a safe place,” she said.

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Vertuno reported from Austin, Texas. Associated Press writers John Myers Jr. and Renloy Traill in Kingston, Jamaica; Mark Stevenson and Megan Ganetsky in Mexico City; Coral Murphy-Marcus in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Lucanus Olivier in Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, also contributed.

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