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‘It’s All Hands on Deck’ as Beryl Bears Down on Texas Coast


(Bloomberg) — Tropical Storm Beryl is expected to rapidly strengthen as it approaches the Texas coast, with forecasts calling for it to regain hurricane strength and potentially reach Category 2 wind speeds before making landfall early Monday.

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Officials are urging residents to take precautions, oil companies are adjusting operations and emergency workers are gathering resources as the storm bears down on the state.

“The bottom line is, it’s all hands on deck,” Houston Mayor John Whitmire said during a briefing Sunday. “This storm has been unpredictable since Day One.”

The storm was 135 miles (217 kilometers) east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, with top speeds of about 65 miles per hour, according a US National Hurricane Center forecast at 5 p.m. in New York. A hurricane warning is in effect from Baffin Bay northward to San Luis Pass.

Some parts of the state may get drenched with more than a foot (25 centimeters) of rain, and the center warned of “multiple life-threatening hazards.”

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. It’s likely to make landfall east of Corpus Christi early Monday.

“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, according to Alex DaSilva, lead hurricane forecaster at AccuWeather.

“The storm is starting to regain its organization,” DaSilva said in an interview. “There’s really not a whole lot stopping this thing now. It wouldn’t shock me if it becomes a Category 2 hurricane. That’s definitely in the cards.”

Storms are classified as hurricanes when their wind speeds reach 74 miles per hour, and upgraded to Category 2 at 96 miles per hour.

Beryl’s hurricane-force winds may drive as much as 7 feet (2.1 meters) of water onto parts of the coast as it approaches Texas, where a state of emergency has been declared in 121 counties. Exxon Mobil Corp. said Sunday it’s adjusting some operations as the storm approaches.

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.

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