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The Texas Gulf Coast braces for the effects from Hurricane Beryl

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Hurricane Beryl made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The season's first hurricane surprised forecasters ever since it formed in the Atlantic late last month - first that it came so early, then that it became so strong. It was a Category 5 storm as it pounded the Caribbean. It then weakened but has regained strength while approaching the Texas coast. It now has 80-mph winds.

FADEL: NPR's Greg Allen is right there in Corpus Christi and joins us now. Hi, Greg.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Hi, Leila.

FADEL: So what's happening with the hurricane?

ALLEN: Beryl came ashore this morning near Matagorda Bay, on the Texas coast. That's about 100 miles south of Galveston, and, as you say, it's carrying 80-mph winds and moving about 10 mph. Now, along with the winds, the most immediate impact is the storm surge.

FADEL: And what areas are most likely to be impacted?

ALLEN: Well, the first concern is of course going to be for Matagorda Bay, where it came ashore. Forecasters say that area could receive as much as 7 feet of storm surge. Some communities around there ordered mandatory evacuations for residents, with the concern that with the flooding, emergency services wouldn't be available for those who need help. As Beryl strengthened, the National Hurricane Center extended concerns about storm surge and flooding into Galveston and the Houston area. Galveston could see a 6-foot storm surge, which could be made worse if it arrives this morning during high tide, and to add to that, the forecast is that Beryl will bring 5-10 inches of rain, with accumulations up to 15 inches in some areas. It begins to raise memories of Hurricane Harvey seven years ago, which, you know, as you remember, caused...

FADEL: Yeah.

ALLEN: ...Severe flooding in Houston. Beryl's a lot weaker. It's not as wet, moving faster, but flooding does remain a concern.

FADEL: And did you see signs of people preparing and taking Beryl seriously?

ALLEN: Yes. In Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass and Rockport communities we visited yesterday, we saw homes boarded up, businesses closed and indications that some people had evacuated. At a marina in Rockport, boat owners were busy all day, retying their boats and trying to protect them from the wind and storm surge. I talked to Bill Krenek when he was at work on his 35-foot sailboat.

BILL KRENEK: What I do, I double up my lines. I put fenders up high, because the storm surge'll come in, and the boat'll raise up, and then the lines'll get slack, and they'll rub the pilings.

ALLEN: You know, just a few weeks ago, folks here say the remains of Tropical Storm Alberto caused significant flooding in Rockport. They're concerned this could be a lot worse this time.

FADEL: And now that Beryl has come ashore, what's expected?

ALLEN: Well, a big question now is, you know, how fast Beryl moves and how much rain it drops on inland areas. Inland flooding caused by rain from hurricanes, tropical storms and even just depressions claim more lives in many years than wind and storm surge, so flash flooding will be a concern as Beryl moves through Houston, into east Texas and, later in the day, into Oklahoma and Arkansas.

FADEL: And it's really early to be talking about hurricanes. Is this a sign there will be more to come?

ALLEN: Right. Well, you know, Beryl has broken all kinds of records, as it emerged as the earliest Category 5 hurricane ever recorded. Forecasters say there are a number of factors suggesting this is going to be a very active hurricane season. The biggest one, of course, is the warm ocean temperatures in the Gulf and the Atlantic. Researchers say those warm ocean temperatures are directly related to climate change and something that we might expect to be dealing with as we look forward here.

FADEL: NPR's Greg Allen in Corpus Christi. Thank you, 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.

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.
Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.