Most of Houston Loses Power as Hurricane Beryl Delivers Latest Blow

By | July 9, 2024

Much of Houston remained without power in Tropical Storm Beryl’s wake, and authorities warned the blackout could last days even as heat builds across the battered region.

Beryl left the nation’s fourth-largest city a morass of flooded streets, downed trees, darkened traffic lights and power lines lying on the ground. Three deaths were blamed on the storm, including a Houston Police Department employee who drowned in his car. Beryl, a Category 1 hurricane when it struck Texas early Monday, already had killed 11 people in a week-long rampage across the Caribbean.

Almost 2.4 million electric utility customers in eastern Texas were still without power as of 3 a.m. local time Tuesday, according to website

About 85% of the homes and businesses served by the Houston area’s main electric utility — CenterPoint Energy Inc. — lost power during the storm. By early Tuesday, it had restored supply to 1 million customers in the previous 24 hours, it said in a notice.

Still, while CenterPoint brought in more than 10,000 workers to restore service, the company warned parts of its local network could require replacement, not just repair.

“I do not have power at my house — I know what it’s like,” Houston Mayor John Whitmire said at an evening press conference.

Those without power will face a new threat Tuesday, as high temperatures follow the storm. The National Weather Service posted a heat advisory for the region lasting until Wednesday, with heat index values forecast as high as 105F (40C).

Power Outages Around Houston | Percentage of customers without power

Houston is the oil capital of the western hemisphere, and a crucial hub of US petrochemical production, global shipping and medical research. Perched on the edge of a hurricane-stalked sea, it is no stranger to storms.

This year, disastrous weather has repeatedly battered the city and its metro area’s 7 million residents. A parade of storms has flooded streets and homes, ripped windows from skyscrapers and plunged millions into darkness, sometimes for days. Floods struck some of the city’s suburbs in May, followed by two wind storms that left downtown sidewalks covered in broken window glass.

Listen to Zero: Climate Change Is ‘Loading the Weather Dice Against Us’

Texas has become a showcase for extreme weather fueled by climate change, from supercharged hurricanes along the Gulf of Mexico to heat waves and withering drought in the state’s dusty west. This year saw the state’s largest wildfire on record burn through the Panhandle.

Read More: Texas’ Extreme Weather Pileups Point to World’s Climate Future

Beryl initially was forecast to land farther west, but instead it tracked close to the city. Its winds tore part of the roof off suburban Sugar Land’s city hall, while a local news station showed rescuers plucking a stranded driver from the top of his nearly submerged truck.

One resident was killed by a falling tree, and another died in a fire sparked by lightning, Whitmire said. At one point Monday morning, the city was logging 400 calls to 911 each hour, he said.

Hurricane Beryl Impacts Texas Coastline

A resident surveys the flooded interstate following Hurricane Beryl landfall in Houston, Texas, on July 8.

Houston officials urged residents to stay at home Tuesday to let utility crews and first responders assess the damage and check on the vulnerable. Water and debris still block many streets, and traffic lights may be useless.

“I want to emphasize, don’t let the clear skies fool you,” Whitmire said. “We still have dangerous conditions.”

(Updates with power outage numbers in third and fourth paragraphs.)

Photo: HOUSTON, TEXAS – JULY 08: A person looks out towards the flooded interstate after Hurricane Beryl swept through the area on July 08, 2024 in Houston, Texas. Tropical Storm Beryl developed into a Category 1 hurricane as it hit the Texas coast late last night. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) Photographer: Brandon Bell/Getty Images North America

Topics Catastrophe Natural Disasters Hurricane

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.