Beryl slammed Houston and then unleashed tornadoes. Here’s what’s next. (2024)

Beryl made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane early Monday near Matagorda, Tex., bringing gusts up to nearly 100 mph at the coastline and a storm surge over 5 feet in spots. Then it flooded Houston and brought destructive winds before unleashing a tornado outbreak across northeastern Texas and western Louisiana. The storm was blamed for at least four deaths and cut power to more than 2 million customers, many of whom remained in the dark Tuesday morning.

Beryl has since lost its tropical characteristics, and its remnants are now sweeping northward through the mid-South and poised to pass through the Midwest and Ohio Valley, where they are predicted to spawn more tornadoes and more flooding.

Into Wednesday, the storm’s remnants will progress northward through the eastern Great Lakes into Ontario and Quebec, passing close to the border with the northeastern United States. As they do so, they will produce more heavy rain and could spawn some tornadoes between eastern Ohio and southern New York state.

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It’s still just the start of Atlantic hurricane season, which doesn’t peak until mid-September historically. Record-warm sea surface temperatures will combine with a burgeoning La Niña, which relaxes otherwise hostile high-altitude winds, to favor a greater number and intensity of storms. It’s almost certain this season will go down in the books as busier than normal, with many experts warning it could be “hyperactive.”

In a revised hurricane outlook released Tuesday morning, Colorado State University increased its seasonal forecast for hurricane activity. It’s now calling for 25 named storms, 12 hurricanes and six major hurricanes rated Category 3 or higher; its previous outlooks issued in April and June predicted 23 named storms, 11 hurricanes and five major hurricanes.

Beryl’s current status and what’s next

As of Tuesday afternoon, Beryl’s remnants were centered near the Arkansas-Missouri border and moving northeast. Maximum sustained winds had decreased to 30 mph, a 50 mph drop since Beryl made landfall as a hurricane Monday at 5 a.m. Eastern.

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Heavy rain was occurring east and northeast of the center from eastern Missouri through southern Illinois and Indiana.

Forecast through Tuesday night

  • Rainfall: Heavy rains will continue from northern Arkansas through Indiana. A widespread 2 to 4 inches of rain is possible, with localized 6-inch totals. Flash flooding is possible in a few areas.
  • Tornadoes: The area from southern Illinois and western Kentucky to southern Indiana and southwestern Ohio is most at risk for severe storms that could produce tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center. It says “several tornadoes” are possible in this zone, which includes Evansville, Ind.; Indianapolis; Cincinnati; and Louisville.

Forecast for Wednesday and beyond

  • Rainfall: The heaviest rain is forecast to spread from northern Indiana through eastern Michigan through Wednesday. Into Wednesday night and Thursday, the heaviest rain will shift toward Ontario, southern Quebec, western and northern New York state and interior New England. One to 3 inches are probable in this area, with localized amounts up to 4 to 5 inches.
  • Tornadoes: A few more tornadoes are possible Wednesday from around the Ohio-Pennsylvania border toward the mid-Hudson Valley. Scranton, Pa.; Binghamton, N.Y.; and Ithaca, N.Y., are among the cities in the zone at risk.

Beryl by the numbers

While only a Category 1 hurricane at landfall, Beryl produced significant impacts — particularly in Texas.

2.3 million power outages

Roughly 2.3 million customers lost power in southeastern Texas during Beryl, the majority of them in the greater Houston area. A combined 34,000 customers are also in the dark in Louisiana and Arkansas.

Over 2 million electric customers are without power in #Texas due to #HurricaneBeryl.
[2024-07-08 9:20 AM CDT]https://t.co/bH0OfNRMxs#PowerOutage pic.twitter.com/npipshNAJT

— PowerOutage.us (@PowerOutage_us) July 8, 2024

97 mph wind gust

The peak officially measured wind gust at the coastline was 97 mph near Freeport, Tex., on the coastline south of Houston. At the nearby San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, winds gusted to 91 mph, and at Matagorda they gusted to 86 mph. A few storm chasers reported unofficial coastal gusts in the range of 100 to 115 mph.

Beryl intensified at the last minute before moving inland, and it slammed Houston’s Hobby Airport with a wind gust up to 84 mph. At Houston’s Intercontinental Airport, the wind gusted to 83 mph. Many traffic lights were knocked out, and trees toppled.

13.55 inches of rain

Multiple areas received at least a foot of rain just north and east of where Beryl made landfall. Across the greater Houston area, amounts of 5 to 10 inches were common, but some areas eclipsed a foot. A location just 3.5 miles west-southwest of downtown registered 13.55 inches, according to the Weather Service. Numerous flash flood warnings blanketed southeastern Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Little Rock received 5.68 inches.

115 tornado warnings

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Across the south-central United States, 115 tornado warnings were issued — the greatest number during July as far back as records go (dating back to 1986). Preliminarily, it appears at least 41 tornadoes touched down, though more may be confirmed. Some were significant — rated EF2 or EF3 on the 0-to-5 scale for intensity — which is a relative rarity in tropical cyclones. A number of towns, such as Jasper, Tex., were included in tornado warnings four or five times Monday afternoon.

The Weather Service office in Shreveport, La., issued 63 warnings by itself Monday afternoon and evening. That’s the most issued in a single day by the office.

#Beryl continues to be an overachiever and record breaker, even after making landfall. It prompted the National Weather Service to issue a whopping 115 Tornado Warnings over the last 24 hours! The most ever issued in a single day during the month of July. pic.twitter.com/gn4oSS4yLq

— Collin Gross (@CollinGrossWx) July 9, 2024

Jason Samenow contributed to this report.

Beryl slammed Houston and then unleashed tornadoes. Here’s what’s next. (2024)
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