Three are killed by tropical storm Beryl in Texas, and 2.7 million people lack electricity

Tropical Storm Beryl, initially the earliest Category 5 hurricane on record for the season, weakened after impacting the coastal Texas town of Matagorda with intense storm surges and heavy rainfall before moving across Houston, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The storm's impact was severe, resulting in at least three fatalities in southeast Texas on Monday, along with widespread flooding, power outages affecting over 2.7 million homes and businesses, and significant disruption to transportation and oil refining activities. Beryl's trajectory also raised concerns about tornadoes in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, prompting extensive precautionary measures and emergency responses.

Before reaching Texas, Beryl had already left a trail of destruction through Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Mexico, claiming at least 11 lives, according to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. In Texas, fatalities included a 53-year-old man and a 74-year-old woman killed by falling trees in Houston, along with a City of Houston employee who drowned in a flooded underpass.

The storm's impact on oil production and refining in Texas, a key sector for the nation's energy output, was significant, with slowdowns reported and evacuations from offshore platforms by major companies like Shell and Chevron. Despite Beryl weakening into a tropical depression overnight, continued heavy rainfall posed ongoing flood risks as the storm moved northeastward across Arkansas and into the Lower Great Lakes.

Emergency response efforts, involving over 2,500 first responders and resources deployed by FEMA and the US Coast Guard, focused on search and rescue operations and providing essential supplies to affected communities. As the storm passed, cleanup and recovery efforts were expected to be extensive, with assessments of economic damage and power restoration efforts likely to take days to complete.

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