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Texas residents prepare for Beryl


Beryl is bearing down on the coast of Texas. It's currently a tropical storm but is forecast to strengthen back into a hurricane before it comes ashore tomorrow. From Corpus Christi to Houston, people are preparing for the landfall. But Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says residents inland also need to be paying attention.


DAN PATRICK: If this track moves, which it often does in the last 12 hours, 15 hours of a hurricane coming ashore, then all communities inland should be prepared for heavy rain and potential flooding, and that's why you need to listen to your local officials as well as your local forecast for where you live.

FLORIDO: NPR's Greg Allen is in Rockport on Texas' Gulf Coast and joins us now with the latest. Hey, Greg.


FLORIDO: Tell us what you're seeing where you are.

ALLEN: Well, Rockport here is right on the coast, as you say, and it's - we're at the marina where people have been busy today tying up their boats. Earlier today, we were in Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass and some other communities. And I'll note that it's a tail end of a holiday weekend, but that said, it was still very quiet. It seems like a lot of people are - already have left or have boarded up their homes. In Aransas Pass, we saw a lot of homes that were boarded up, and it did seem like many have evacuated. We talked to Johnny Guerra, who was out fishing today in Aransas Pass. He said that he got his house ready for Beryl, and then he came out to see if the redfish were biting. They weren't while we were there.

FLORIDO: (Laughter).

ALLEN: But he said even though it's forecast to be just a Category 1 storm, people here are taking it seriously.

JOHNNY GUERRA: A couple of people that I know have went ahead just evacuated, you know, because of course, they're not going to have emergency services. So, you know, those that might need some medical attention, you know, they're leaving the area just in case, you know.

FLORIDO: Greg, what are people telling you about their preparations for the storm?

ALLEN: Well, yeah, I talked to Johnny Guerra about that, and this is what he told me.

GUERRA: Put up some boards, moved everything that might blow away indoors, in storage. Plants are inside. Everything's taken care of.

ALLEN: Guerra said most of his neighbors have boarded up their homes, but we saw many places where people haven't done anything, haven't put up boards or shutters. I think the question that many are wrestling here is how strong will the winds be and how close to the center of the storm their homes will be. The National Hurricane Center is warning people to be prepared for Beryl to possibly intensify as it nears land and perhaps reach Category 2 status. So clearly, some people here are taking a gamble that this won't be a worst-case scenario, and their homes will be in danger.

FLORIDO: Yeah. A lot of people in Texas will remember Hurricane Harvey, which hit a similar area in 2017, and flooded out Houston. Are there similar concerns with Beryl?

ALLEN: Yeah, that memory of Harvey weighs very heavily here on this area 'cause it did come through this part of the coast and brought a lot of flooding here before it then stalled over Houston. This storm so far doesn't seem as wet or as slow as Harvey. But the National Hurricane Center is talking about five to 10 inches of rain, as much as 15 inches in some places. And in addition, there's a four to seven-foot storm storage expected in some areas. So flooding will be the major concern and the reason that some communities have ordered evacuations.

FLORIDO: Well, Beryl has already been a really remarkable and record-breaking storm. Why did this storm get so powerful?

ALLEN: Well, you know, this is the earliest that we've ever seen a hurricane this strong. You know, it developed in the Atlantic as a Category 5. Now it's much weaker than that. But it has broken a number of other records along the way, and it's signifying that there is something going on this year that's different. And one, of course, is the end of the El Nino climate pattern, which has reduced wind shear over the last few - over the last year. Now that that's being reduced, the high-level winds that tend to suppress hurricanes have died out, so hurricanes can be stronger. But another major factor is the record-setting warm ocean temperatures we're seeing this year in the Atlantic and Gulf. And that's clearly related to climate change and one of the reasons this is expected to be a very active hurricane season.

FLORIDO: Well, I've been speaking with NPR's Greg Allen in Rockport, Texas, with the latest on tropical storm Beryl, which is expected to be a hurricane when it makes landfall early tomorrow. Thanks, Greg.

ALLEN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Greg Allen
As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.