Patrick: after Beryl, more flooding to come

(The Center Square) – After Hurricane Beryl pummeled Matagorda, Galveston Island and moved northeast through Houston en route to Arkansas, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Texans weren’t out of danger yet.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire, in a separate press conference, also warned Houstonians, “Don’t let the clear skies fool you,” as major flooding is expected.

On Monday morning, the Category 1 hurricane made landfall near Matagorda, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, The Center Square reported.

A continuing danger of life-threatening storm surge along the coast from Mesquite Bay to Sabine Pass, including Matagorda Bay and Galveston Bay, was expected, the National Hurricane Center said Monday morning. “Considerable flash and urban flooding is expected today into tonight across portions of middle and upper Texas Gulf Coast and eastern Texas. Minor-to-isolated major river flooding is also expected. Rip currents will cause life threatening beach conditions through Tuesday across much of the Gulf Coast.”

When giving an update on the state’s storm response at a press conference Monday afternoon, Patrick said tornado warnings continued in northeast Texas and flood warnings continue throughout southeast Texas.

Texans should also expect additional flooding, he said.

After the rain hits northeast Texas, he said, “what’s going to happen is that rain will go into the rivers. The rivers flow downstream to areas in the greater Houston area and other counties around Harris County where Houston is located and cause additional flooding in the days ahead.Because we had a huge surge over the last several days of water coming ashore particularly the last 24 hours you had water meeting water which means it’s a little bit tougher to drain out to the Gulf of Mexico. We’re not past any flooding. We’re not past difficult conditions.”

Patrick gave the briefing while Gov. Greg Abbott is in Asia on an economic development tour.

He also said the storm’s impact felt greater than a Category 1 hurricane. “If you’re in the middle of 80-hour winds, which were in the middle of Houston today, and if you’re being pounded by 6 or 8 or 10 inches of rain at the same time, and if you’re on the coast where the surge is coming in, or if you’re inland where we’ve had tornadoes reported, and there are a number of tornadoes reported in northeast Texas, that might as well be a Category 5 storm.”

As of Monday afternoon, there were nearly 3 million ratepayers without power and at least 10 transmission lines were down. CenterPoint Energy, Entergy, and smaller electric co-ops are working around the clock to assess damages and restore power, he said, saying it’s “a multi-day restoration event” that will take days.

More than 11,500 crew have come from other counties and states to help restore power, Patrick said. Normally there are 1,675 linemen in Texas working on power lines.

Whitmire also held a news conference with city officials, saying, “We woke up this morning on the dirty side of a dirty hurricane. Beryl has done significant damage. We’ve experienced over 90 mph wind upwards of 10 to 15 inches of rain.

“I want to emphasize, don’t let the clear skies fool you. We still have dangerous circumstances. We still have high water across our city. We still have flooding issues,” he said, listing all of the highways and underpasses that were flooded. “Beryl still poses a threat.”

He also discussed how three people died as a result of the storm.

First responders “are swamped” responding to emergency calls and city employees were responding to assess damage as streets are filled with storm debris, downed trees and power lines.

More than 2,500 responders and over 1,200 assets remain rostered and deployed by the state, Patrick said. They are following the storm as it moves east and responding to requests for assistance from local officials.

Patrick has issued disaster declarations for 121 counties impacted by the storm.

Texans are also encouraged to go to for guidance on what to do in the aftermath of Beryl.