Beryl strengthens back into a hurricane as it approaches the Texas coast

Beryl strengthens back into a hurricane as it approaches the Texas coast

Beryl strengthens back into a hurricane as it approaches the Texas coast

(Bloomberg) — Hurricane Beryl is expected to strengthen as it approaches the Texas coast early Monday, with forecasts warning it could reach Category 2 wind speeds before making landfall.

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Authorities are urging residents to take precautions, oil companies are adjusting operations and emergency workers are gathering resources as the storm approaches the state.

“The bottom line is that we all need to roll up our sleeves,” Houston Mayor John Whitmire said during a news conference Sunday. “This storm has been unpredictable from day one.”

The storm was located 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of Corpus Christi, Texas, and its top speed was 120 kilometres (75 mph), which has raised it above tropical storm level, according to a forecast from the US National Hurricane Center released at 12:00 a.m. in New York. A hurricane warning is in effect from Mesquite Bay to Port Bolivar.

Parts of the state could be drenched with more than a foot (25 centimeters) of rain, and the center warned of “multiple life-threatening hazards.”

Although Beryl, which reached Category 5 status in the Caribbean last week, weakened as it passed over the Yucatan Peninsula on Friday, it is now moving through the Gulf of Mexico, where unusually warm waters are helping it regain strength. It is likely to make landfall east of Corpus Christi early Monday.

“This will be a deadly storm for people in its path,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said during a briefing Sunday.

Surface temperatures in the Gulf are above average for this time of year, helping the storm strengthen, according to Alex DaSilva, AccuWeather’s senior hurricane forecaster.

“The storm is starting to get its organization back,” DaSilva said in an interview. “There’s really not much that can stop it now. I wouldn’t be surprised if it became a Category 2 hurricane. That’s definitely in play.”

Storms are classified as hurricanes when their winds reach 74 miles per hour, and they become Category 2 at 96 miles per hour.

Beryl’s hurricane-force winds could drag up to seven feet (2.1 meters) of water over parts of the coast as it approaches Texas, where a state of emergency has been declared in 121 counties. Exxon Mobil Corp. said Sunday it is adjusting some operations as the storm approaches. Freeport LNG has scaled back liquefaction operations with plans to resume them once the storm safely passes, a company spokesman said.

Patrick urged Texans to take shelter before the storm hits and to be careful if they have to go outside. Beryl caused devastation last week when it swept through the Caribbean and Mexico, leaving nine people dead. “We don’t want hurricane number 10 to be in Texas,” he said.

–With assistance from Dan Murtaugh.

(The location and strength of the storm are updated in the first and fourth paragraphs, and the status of the LNG plant is updated in the penultimate paragraph.)

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