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Massive Power Outages in Texas as Tropical Storm Beryl Batters the State

In the wake of Tropical Storm Beryl, nearly 3 million homes and businesses across Texas have been left without power. The storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane around 4 a.m. on Monday, bringing fierce winds and heavy rain that have severely disrupted daily life across the state.

Beryl, which had previously wreaked havoc as a Category 5 hurricane in Mexico and the Caribbean, quickly downgraded to a tropical storm after hitting Texas. However, the storm’s winds and rains were still potent enough to topple trees, down power lines, and flood roadways, causing widespread damage and necessitating numerous high-water rescues.

The National Weather Service reported that Beryl’s rapid movement and severe weather conditions will continue to affect several states in the coming days. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, acting governor in Gov. Greg Abbott’s absence, has warned residents that it could take multiple days to restore power fully.

Houston, the state’s largest city, was particularly hard hit. CenterPoint Energy reported that more than 2 million customers in and around Houston are without power. Efforts to restore power have been intensified, with thousands of additional workers brought in to address the outages. Priority is being given to critical locations such as nursing homes and assisted living centers.

“We’re not past any difficult conditions,” Lt. Gov. Patrick stated. “This will be a multi-day process to get power restored.”

The Entergy Outage Map for Texas shows significant disruptions in Montgomery, Jefferson, Walker, and Liberty counties, with Galveston County, including the Bolivar Peninsula, also heavily affected. Entergy Texas has reported damage to its transmission equipment, leading to power loss at 17 substations.

Nim Kidd, Chief of Texas Emergency Management, stated that the state is preparing to open cooling centers and distribution centers for food and water as temperatures are expected to rise back into the 90s by Tuesday. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory, warning that the heat index could reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

First responders in Houston have been working tirelessly, conducting at least 25 water rescues by Monday afternoon. Emergency services are prioritizing the evacuation of nursing homes, hospitals, and assisted living facilities to ensure the safety of vulnerable populations.

At least three fatalities have been confirmed due to the storm. Two individuals were killed by falling trees in their homes, and a third, a civilian employee of the Houston Police Department, drowned in floodwaters under a highway overpass.

Environmental concerns have also been raised as several industrial plants and refineries in the affected areas reported flaring incidents due to power disruptions. Companies like Marathon Petroleum Corp., Formosa Plastics Corporation, and Freeport LNG have been flaring gases to manage the sudden shutdowns caused by the storm.

Residents have begun the arduous task of clearing debris and fallen trees from streets and homes. Chainsaws and generators are in high demand, and many people are turning to community resources and volunteer organizations for assistance.

Javier Mejia, a Houston resident, shared his experience: “Having gone through previous storms, we stocked up on food and water. But we forgot to get gas for the generator, so we’re spending the day looking for some. We can just fire up the grill if we can’t find any.”

As Beryl continues to move inland, heavy rains and winds are expected to affect Louisiana and Missouri. The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings in northwest Louisiana, with confirmed tornado sightings adding to the region’s woes.

President Joe Biden has been receiving regular updates on the situation. Federal agencies like FEMA and the U.S. Coast Guard are prepared to assist with search and rescue operations and provide necessary supplies to the affected areas.

Texans are advised to stay indoors, avoid downed power lines, and use generators safely to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. As the state begins to recover, the extent of Beryl’s impact will become clearer, but the resilience and solidarity of Texas communities are already evident.

For the latest updates on power restoration efforts, residents are encouraged to check the Entergy Outage Map Texas and follow local news sources for real-time information.

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