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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Beryl regains strength, on track to reach Texas as hurricane

Waves crash ashore as Hurricane Beryl spins offshore on Wednesday in Kingston, Jamaica.  (Joe Raedle)
By Will Wade Bloomberg News

Tropical storm Beryl is gaining strength as it lumbers toward the south Texas coast, and is expected to become a hurricane again before it makes landfall early Monday morning.

The storm was about 165 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, with top speeds of about 65 miles per hour, according to a U.S. National Hurricane Center forecast at 2 p.m. in New York. A hurricane warning is in effect for the Texas coast from Baffin Bay northward to San Luis Pass.

While Beryl – which topped out as a Category 5 storm in the Caribbean last week – weakened as it passed across the Yucatan Peninsula on Friday, it’s now churning across the Gulf of Mexico, where unusually warm waters are helping it regain strength.

The track of the storm has been shifting to the north, and it’s likely to make landfall between Corpus Christi and Galveston Island, drenching the area with as much as 10 inches of rain and creating a “life-threatening storm surge.”

“It’s still a tropical storm as we speak, but it will be a hurricane,” Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said during a briefing Sunday. “It will be a deadly storm for people who are in its path.”

Surface temperatures in the Gulf are above average for this time of year, helping the storm strengthen. Even though it’s still a tropical storm, Patrick said it may reach Category 2 strength before landfall, which would require wind speeds of at least 96 miles per hour.

“The environment is allowing it to strengthen,” said Frank Pereira, a meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. “The concern now as it makes landfall across the state is going to be the storm surge.”

Beryl’s hurricane-force winds may drive as much as 6 feet of water onto parts of the coast as it bears down on Texas, where a state of emergency has been declared in 121 counties.

Patrick urged people in Texas to take shelter before the storm arrives, and to use caution if they must venture outside. Beryl caused devastation last week as it ripped through the Caribbean and Mexico and caused nine deaths. “We don’t want No. 10 to be in Texas,” he said.