Texas, Hurricane Beryl, electricity, power outage

Hurricane Beryl Wreaked Havoc On Texas, May Take Days To Regain Power

Hurricane Beryl broke records fueled by soaring sea temperatures

Following Hurricane Beryl, widespread and ongoing power outages are exacerbating the grave situation as temperatures soar in Texas this week.

The hurricane ripped through Texas on July 8. The calamitous storm caused at least six deaths, and approximately 2.7 million customers were left without electricity. As of Tuesday morning, more than 2.2 million people remained without power. Authorities warn that the blackouts could persist for days to weeks, leaving residents without air conditioning amidst triple-digit heat indices.

“The lack of proper cooling, combined with many people outdoors cleaning up after Beryl, could produce dangerous heat conditions,” the National Weather Service (NWS) stated this morning.

The outages are concentrated in southeast Texas, where the heat index — a measure of heat and humidity — is expected to exceed 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Although this level typically doesn’t warrant a heat advisory in the region, the absence of air conditioning after a major storm significantly changes the situation.

Public Utility Commission of Texas chairman Thomas Gleeson mentioned in a press conference yesterday that it could take “a few days” to restore power, with some areas in hard-hit Galveston potentially remaining without electricity for up to two weeks.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, power outages in the U.S. have increased over the past decade, mainly due to “major events” like hurricanes and winter storms.

These prolonged blackouts heighten the risk of heat-related illnesses and deaths, especially as rising global temperatures, driven by greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, lead to more frequent and intense heat waves. Higher temperatures also intensify storms, which gain strength from heat energy at the sea surface.

Hurricane Beryl broke records fueled by soaring sea temperatures. It became the strongest tropical storm on record to develop in the Atlantic this early in the hurricane season. By July 2, Beryl intensified into a monstrous Category 5 storm, causing destruction across the Caribbean and Mexico before weakening to a Category 1 storm and striking Texas. Despite lower sustained wind speeds, Beryl delivered over 10 inches of rain along parts of the Texas Gulf Coast and caused a storm surge of up to six feet.

Beryl’s impact is a grim indicator of what’s predicted to be a severe Atlantic hurricane season this year. Though the storm has weakened, it is expected to remain “a prolific heavy rain producer” as it moves northeast this week, according to the NWS.