Beryl weakens to tropical storm after landfall in Mexico as storm heads toward Texas

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Beryl has weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall earlier Friday in Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, as tropical storm conditions continue over portions of the northern Yucatan Peninsula, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Beryl was packing maximum sustained winds of 110 mph when it came ashore northeast of the resort town of Tulum on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula early Friday.

The storm continued its weakening trend as it crossed the Yucatan — leaving behind a major cleanup for resorts in Tulum, Cancun and Cozumel — and headed toward the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Beryl now aiming for Texas

As Beryl moves over the Gulf, in the direction of the U.S.-Mexico border, it could re-intensify back into a Category 1 hurricane by Sunday morning.

Beryl is expected to make landfall by early Monday morning in southern Texas — somewhere between Corpus Christi and South Padre Island, though some models show that the storm could hit farther north.

Based on the forecast from the National Hurricane Center, the storm could be a strong Category 1, with winds of 75 mph or higher.

Regardless of Beryl’s strength, it is expected to bring heavy rain to southern Texas. Rainfall could be more than 8 inches in just hours, which could produce inland flash flooding all the way to Austin and San Antonio.

Life-threatening storm surge could measure several feet and cause major coastal flooding from South Padre Island all the way to Galveston.

In addition, the prolonged period of onshore winds along the U.S. Gulf Coast could create rough beach conditions, including a risk for rip currents this holiday weekend.

Texas issued a disaster declaration for 39 counties on Friday, as officials prepared for the storm.

“We are going to be prepared for the worst, and we have assets ready to deploy as soon as we know a better direction of where that storm has gone,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said during a press briefing.

Jamaica sees ‘significant’ damage

The hurricane hit Mexico after it passed just south of the Cayman Islands Thursday morning, bringing hurricane-force winds and a storm surge that was forecast to possibly produce a water rise of 4 to 6 feet and half a foot of rain.

It also left flooding and widespread damage on the island of Jamaica late Wednesday. Beryl’s center also passed just 45 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica, as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph.

Beryl was the first major hurricane — at least a Category 3 — to pass this close to Jamaica since 2007.

Damage has been reported primarily in southwestern Jamaica after Beryl battered the island, officials said.

“Jamaica was spared the worst of Hurricane Beryl, but the damages are still significant,” Prime Minister Andrew Holness said on social media.

About half of the island is still without power as of Thursday evening, according to a government official.

Jamaica Public Service said teams are conducting remote assessments and waiting for an all-clear from emergency management to conduct ground assessments and begin the restoration process.

One of the main cell providers in Jamaica — Digicel — has been down since the overnight hours and is working on network restoration.

The island’s three major airports closed on Tuesday as the storm approached, stranding travelers. Jamaica Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told ABC News Thursday that power outages have impacted the airports but that all three will be fully operational on Friday.

Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay reopened to customers at 6 p.m. local time Thursday. Guards at the airport told ABC News that the facility sustained some damage from the storm.

Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston had said it planned to reopen Friday at 5 a.m. local time. It saw some minor damage from the storm, including a small section of the roof of the passenger boarding pier that blew off.

Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios was also planning to reopen on Friday, according to Bartlett.

ABC News’ Faith Abubey contributed to this report.

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