Updated 8 p.m. July 8

It may take several days to restore power to all Texans impacted by Hurricane Beryl, state leaders warned during a July 8 news conference. Around 2.7 million customers are without power across the state, including over 2.2 million outages in the Greater Houston area.

“We’re not past any flooding, we’re not past difficult conditions,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is serving as governor while Gov. Greg Abbott is out of the country. “But the storm, by midnight, will be beyond us.”

The storm toppled 10 power transmission lines and knocked down many trees, although power crews could not immediately respond due to strong winds and flooding, Patrick said.

CenterPoint Energy teams plan to restore power for “the most vulnerable” populations first, Patrick said, such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes and people who need electricity to power their medical devices.


What you need to know

Officials urged Texans to stay off the roads and remain vigilant in areas hit by the storm.

“As it gets dark tonight, please do not be out driving around if you don't have to. ... It seems right now, the reports that we have received is that most of our injuries and loss of life have been from trees falling on houses or on vehicles,” said Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Department of Emergency Management. “And so I ask you to get to a safe place and stay in a safe place—after dark, you need to be in the safest place that you can find.”

At least three people have died as a result of the storm, Patrick said—two Houston-area residents were killed after trees fell on their homes and a Houston Police Department employee was caught in flood waters on his way to work.
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“If you see a downed power line, please do not approach it. It can still be energized and that could cost you your life,” said Thomas Gleeson, chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

If you have a generator to power your home, it should only be used outdoors, Kidd said.

“With so many people in Texas without power, people are going to light candles tonight which becomes a fire hazard in their home or they're going to try to run a generator... that is going to create carbon monoxide, which is a colorless and odorless gas, and it is a silent killer,” he explained.Also of note

Multiple storms have battered the Houston area since April, leaving millions of customers without power for days and killing several people.


Gleeson said state agencies will work with local utility companies to strengthen infrastructure against future disasters.

“I look at every one of these storms as a chance for us to review what we've done and try to get better at our preparation, our response,” Gleeson said. “And we will do that after this storm so Texans can be assured that we'll do better as this goes on with every new event.”

First responders are still assessing property damage from Hurricane Beryl, Kidd said. Residents can report damage online.

Updated 5:08 p.m., July 8


Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo advised residents in a July 8 press conference that preliminary damage assessments have begun as Hurricane Beryl moved out of the Greater Houston region, and to maintain caution throughout the week as roads and debris are cleared and power is restored.

"We're asking folks to stay home or where they are," Hidalgo said. "We are beginning our initial assessments right now, and once we have additional information, we'll let people know that things are calming down."

Hidalgo said a total of 47 water rescues have been conducted by Harris County and city of Houston agencies—a number she attributed to residents listening to weather warnings. Street flooding and power outages have also stalled the process of setting up shelters due to unsafe conditions for travelers.

"We're actively working to set up shelters but it's going to take a little bit of time," Hidalgo said. "We don't want them open today because we don't want people driving, but as soon as we can do the health evaluation of the shelter, we can make sure there's space for pets and we will inform the public about where they are."


Hidalgo also said CenterPoint Energy officials will have an estimated timeline for complete power restoration sometime on July 9. However, local city officials in Pearland communicated a potential restoration time of five to seven days in a series of updates posted to social media.

Published 12:51 p.m., July 8

The National Weather Service downgraded Beryl to a tropical storm in its 10 a.m. advisory. However local and state officials are urging residents to continue sheltering in place as the eyewall moves through the Greater Houston region.

"Please, Houstonians ... shelter in place," Houston Mayor John Whitmire said in a July 8 news conference. "We’re in an emergency. We’re in a rescue mode. We’re literally getting calls across Houston right now asking for first responders to come rescue individuals in desperate life saving conditions."

A total of three deaths have been confirmed as having been caused by Beryl, including one fire fatality confirmed by Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña in southeast Houston.

What you need to know

As of 10 a.m., the center of Tropical Storm Beryl is moving over the Houston region according to NWS officials in a mid-morning update.

“Heavy rainfall of 5 to 10 inches with localized amounts of 15 inches is expected across portions of the Upper Texas Coast and eastern Texas today into tonight,” the update read. “Considerable flash and urban flooding as well as minor to isolated major river flooding is expected.”

In their words

“This is not a one day event,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in an interview with The Weather Channel. “People in North Texas may not have the wind but they will have the rain.”

“The weather will be improving slowly, but there are still going to be hazards,” said Jeff Linder, director of flood operations with the Harris County Flood Control District. “Street flooding, flooding at underpasses, downed power lines, down tree limbs and no power...It is going to be dangerous, you know, not only this afternoon and tonight but for the next few days traveling around.”

The takeaway

Most of the city of Houston saw in excess of 10 inches of rain, and some areas saw winds approaching 90 mph, Whitmire said. Over 2 million people in the Houston region lost power, including 700,000 Houstonians, he said.

A conditions eased midday July 8, Whitmire said the city was prioritizing emergency response and saving lives. Following that, officials will move onto an assessment that will involve identifying where emergency centers can open. While some shelters have opened, most of the city's multiservice centers, including the George R. Brown Convention Center, were without power with generators that were not functioning, Whitmire said at an 11 a.m. briefing. The generator also did not kick on at the city's animal shelter, he said.

"We have a lot to do when we assess things in future days," Whitmire said. "All we have to worry about right now is protecting lives."

Officials received more than 400 9-1-1 calls over the past hour, Whitmire said, adding those calls were likely to continue. Peña said fire officials have been responding to more than 30 rescue calls as well as downed wire calls.

Power outages have resulted in traffic lights going dark at intersections throughout the city, Whitmire said. CenterPoint is bringing in thousands of additional line and vegetation personnel to bring power back as quickly as possible, he said.

Also of note

Bayous throughout the Houston region were overflowing their banks, Whitmire said, calling out White Oak Bayou as particularly dangerous in the area near White Oak Drive and Houston Avenue. The city was also pay close attention to Greens Bayou on the northeast side, Cypress Creek and the San Jacinto River, Whitmire said.

With street-level flooding expected to linger, city officials advised Houstonians against driving on flooded roadways, warning that debris could be hidden under the water. Once street flooding clears, police and fire crews will work to remove debris, Whitmire said.

To keep first responder lines from being inundated, city officials are asking residents to report power outages and traffic light outages to 3-1-1.