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Millions without power in sweltering heat as Texas begins cleaning up in Hurricane Beryl’s wake

This image shows significant damage to a home in Surfside Beach, Texas, after Hurricane Beryl on July 9, 2024.

Posted on July 10, 2024

Hurricane Beryl roared ashore near the Texas city of Matagorda as a powerful Category 1 hurricane early Monday morning and pummeled the region with wind gusts higher than 90 mph, a life-threatening storm surge and torrential rain.

HOUSTON – The ferocious winds have died down, and the floodwaters have started to recede in East Texas two days after historic Hurricane Beryl made landfall. However, the danger is far from over for the more than 1.6 million utility customers who remain in the dark and without air conditioning as brutal heat and humidity continue.

Hurricane Beryl roared ashore near the Texas city of Matagorda as a powerful Category 1 hurricane early Monday morning and pummeled the region with wind gusts higher than 90 mph, a 3-6-foot storm surge and heavy precipitation.

The damage is extensive and widespread, and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is acting governor while Gov. Greg Abbott is out of the country, announced Tuesday that President Joe Biden approved the state’s request for a major disaster declaration.

That declaration frees up resources to help the millions of Texans impacted by Hurricane Beryl, including additional generators that will supply potentially life-saving power and keep residents cool as extreme heat scorches the region.


Power outages, extreme heat putting millions of Texans in danger

GALVESTON, TX – JULY 9: A police officer examines felled power lines along Termini-San Luis Pass Road in the wake of Hurricane Beryl on July 9, 2024 in the western part of Galveston island on Texas Gulf Coast about 50 miles from Houston.

At the height of the storm, more than 2.7 million customers were left without power as the effects of Hurricane Beryl brought down trees and utility lines across East Texas from Galveston and the Gulf Coast to the Houston metro and beyond.

“The greatest concern right now is power outages and extreme heat that is impacting Texans,” Biden said in a statement. “As you know, extreme heat kills more Americans than all the other natural disasters combined.”

Biden said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had resources on the ground before Hurricane Beryl made landfall and will continue to support the needs of the state.


As of Wednesday afternoon, approximately 1.7 million customers are still without power, and crews are continuing to clear debris and replace broken equipment to get electricity flowing once again.

This graphic shows the current power outages in the wake of Hurricane Beryl.

“As part of our process to assess the impact of Hurricane Beryl, we’ve walked approximately 4,500 miles of our electric circuits on foot and have used helicopters and drone surveillance to further inspect damage across our service territory,” CenterPoint Energy said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

This includes some of the hardest-hit communities, such as Galveston and South Houston.

“We remain confident that we will restore 1 million customers within 48 hours of the storm’s exit,” the company said.


This graphic shows Heat Alerts in effect in Texas.

The National Weather Service office in Houston issued a Heat Advisory across south-central and southeast Texas that will remain in effect throughout the day as the feels-like temperatures reach over 100 degrees.

While about half of those who lost power during the storm have had electricity restored, for those who are still in the dark, it means trying to find a place to keep cool as temperatures skyrocket.

Cooling centers open in Houston as power restoration efforts continue

FOX Weather Correspondent Katie Byrne has been in hard-hit areas of Houston and said there is still a lot of debris scattered about, and large trees are blocking roads that are preventing some people from getting around their neighborhoods.

Residents who have been without power since Hurricane Beryl’s onslaught are growing more and more frustrated while they wait for power and air conditioning to be restored.

Many people who have been impacted have been staying with family and friends who do have power, but for those who don’t have that option, it’s been a struggle to try and stay cool as temperatures rise.

“Very hot right now inside (our house),” Phillip Katthcee told Byrne. “With the lack of air conditioning and the humidity being as high as it is, makes it very uncomfortable in the house and difficult to do much of anything.”

About the only respite they get is the few hours when temperatures are somewhat manageable in the middle of the night.

“It’s kind of difficult to sleep. It cools off about 2 in the morning, so from about 2-6 (a.m.), you get good sleep – reasonable sleep,” Kattchee said. “I guess I’ll just have to bear it out as long as it takes.”

The city of Houston has opened several cooling centers.

CenterPoint said it has about 12,000 workers on the ground, but they can’t begin to get electricity flowing because crews need to get through the vegetation and debris that is blocking access to power lines that need to be repaired.

In some cases, massive trees that fell during the hurricane split homes in half.

Byrne spoke with one resident who lives down the street from one of the destroyed homes and is still on edge days after the storm passed.

“It’s been pretty wild,” Adam Thrasher said. “I mean, power just came back at 7 p.m. (Tuesday). So, I’ve been staying with a friend who had power the whole time. I saw a lot of people hanging around out here. They said there was a guy trapped in there, and they had to be extracted by fire and police. So it was pretty terrible.”

The man inside the home is expected to survive.

‘Hell on Earth here in Houston’

Another resident Byrne spoke with said he’s been without power like so many others since Hurricane Beryl.

“We haven’t seen any power crews,” Saul Melgar said. “We see them around 10 to 15 miles out. So, I’m sure they’re working on more important things. So, hospital and emergency crews, buildings and things like that, but we haven’t seen any power trucks or anything like that around here.”

Power outages are common when disasters strike, but when combined with the brutal heat and humidity, it makes trying to recover even more difficult.

“It’s hard. You know, a lot of people say, ‘Well, Houston gets a lot of natural disasters, winds, some tornadoes,’” Melgar said. “But it also gets to the point where, OK, now it’s starting to get on everybody’s nerves.”

A snapped utility pole in the middle of a street in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Houston is baking under dangerous heat as more than 2 million homes and businesses in the area remain without power after Hurricane Beryl and signs of fuel shortages begin to emerge.

He said that despite living in a beautiful city such as Houston, “it’s still Hell.”

“You have humidity, you have price gouging, you have things like that,” Melgar continued. “There are people who do take advantage of vulnerable people. But then what? You compound not being able to sleep at night because it’s hot. It’s something to where it’s, you know, Hell on Earth here in Houston. We love Houston, but this is starting to get annoying.”

At least 12 deaths in US attributed to Hurricane Beryl

The effects of Hurricane Beryl have left at least 12 people dead in two states, bringing the total number of fatalities along the storm’s track from the Windward Islands to the U.S. to at least 23.

Eleven of the deaths in the U.S. were in the greater Houston area, and one death has been reported in Louisiana.


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