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Beryl Threatens Texas Ports and Logistics Hubs as a Strengthening Hurricane

After making history as the earliest Category 5 hurricane ever recorded and wreaking havoc across the Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, Barbados, and the Yucatan Peninsula, Beryl is now zeroing in on the U.S. coastline, with a Texas landfall anticipated within the next 24-36 hours.

Despite facing serious adversity from strong wind shear, which was expected to significantly reduce its intensity, Beryl remained a major hurricane for most of its journey. It wasn't until the storm encountered the mountainous terrain of the Yucatan Peninsula that it weakened substantially. This geographical barrier served as a saving grace, reducing Beryl to a moderately strong tropical storm currently situated approximately a hundred miles due east of Brownsville, TX.

Extremely warm waters and low wind shear over the Gulf of Mexico still pose a problematic trajectory for Beryl, which is beginning to slowly restrengthen under much more favorable conditions. Although the storm is losing time over water before a US landfall, it is still likely that Beryl will regain hurricane strength as it makes landfall somewhere between Port O'Connor, TX and Sargent, TX.

Beryl has been significantly underestimated in strength and resiliency, and it is crucial that people begin to give it the attention it warrants over the next several days.

Satellite imagery of Tropical Storm Beryl gaining strength over the Gulf of Mexico

Resurgent Storm: Beryl's Final Push Before Texas Landfall

Beryl remains a strong tropical storm this afternoon with 65 mph sustained winds and central pressure hovering around 992 mb. Overall, the previously strong hurricane has finally been tamed by drier air entering the storm's core and disrupting intensification.

However, there are signs that Beryl is finally beginning to get its act together once again, pushing dry air from its center and increasing thunderstorm activity around the storm's core. With low wind shear and extremely warm waters, we are likely to see Beryl go through one final period of quick intensification as it makes landfall on the Texas coastline.

WeatherOptics Insight Portal showing NHC + Hurricane Models forecasted track and strength

As of right now, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is expecting Beryl to go from a 65 mph tropical storm to an 85 mph hurricane in less than 18 hours. There is a risk that Beryl could strengthen more quickly and become a Category 2+ hurricane with winds greater than 96 mph.

In recent years, especially, we've seen strengthening hurricanes intensify at a faster pace even as they make landfall along a coastline (e.g., Hurricanes Michael and Harvey). This often has to do with the storm's momentum and the topography of the coastline, and there is reason to believe that Beryl could attempt something similar – although not near the strength of Harvey or Michael.

Beryl's Path to Texas: Timing, Impact Zones, and Key Cities at Risk

Model guidance has finally converged on a much clearer depiction of Beryl's path over the next 18 hours, likely making landfall somewhere between Port O'Connor, TX, and Sargent, TX, as a strong Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane.

Landfall is expected between 5 AM Central and 8 AM Central on Monday morning, with impacts beginning as early as this afternoon.

The strongest winds, which could gust as high as 90 to 120 mph at times, will be limited to the core of Beryl – a narrow 20-35 mile radius from the center of landfall.

WeatherOptics Power Outage Index valid 5 AM ET Monday morning

The NHC currently has Beryl making landfall near Matagorda, TX, which falls fairly square between Port O'Connor, TX, and Sargent, TX. That strip is a good estimate of where hurricane-force winds and associated wind damage are most likely. A landfall slightly southwest or northeast will shift the strongest winds accordingly.

Strong damaging winds exceeding 60 mph will extend further, likely affecting cities such as Galveston, Houston, Wharton, Victoria, and even College Station. While wind damage may not be as significant as around Beryl's eye-wall, downed trees and power lines, along with some minor to moderate infrastructure damage, are likely.

A 3-6 foot storm surge will encompass a long stretch of coastline from Corpus Christi Bay to Matagorda Bay all the way to Galveston Bay, leading to substantial coastal flooding.

Heavy flooding rainfall will cover an even larger area, with the highest flash-flood potential from Port Lavaca and Port O'Connor to Houston and Galveston. The flood risk will extend well north into College Station, Tyler, and Longview, TX. Rainfall totals of 8-12 inches are possible at the immediate coastline, with widespread 4-8 inches inland towards the Arkansas border.

Flooding from storm surge and heavy rainfall pose the most serious threats to human life and infrastructure.

WeatherOptics Flood Index valid 10 AM ET Monday morning

Impact on Texas and the US: Cargo and Economic Challenges at Key Supply Chain Hubs

Texas plays a significant role in our national and global supply chain, particularly when it comes to oil, petroleum, energy, and cross border shipments from Mexico. The port of Houston for example, is the 5th largest container port in the US, and contributes over $900 billion to the national economy.

Here's a breakdown of how Beryl could impact some of the largest hubs in Texas:

Critical Texas Ports

Port of Houston

Cargo Volume and Economic Significance

Potential Impacts of Hurricane Beryl

  • Operational Disruptions: Temporary closures due to storm surges and high winds will halt cargo operations, leading to backlogs. This can delay the movement of goods such as chemicals, petroleum, and manufactured products, affecting industries nationwide.

  • Infrastructure Damage: Flooding and wind damage could impact port facilities, requiring significant time and resources for repairs, further prolonging operational delays.

Port of Corpus Christi

Cargo Volume and Economic Significance

  • Annual Cargo Volume: The Port of Corpus Christi is a major hub for crude oil and petroleum products. It handles millions of tons of these commodities annually, making it a crucial node in the U.S. energy supply chain.

  • Economic Impact: The port plays a vital role in exporting U.S. oil and gas, influencing global energy markets and domestic fuel prices.

Potential Impacts of Hurricane Beryl

  • Operational Disruptions: As the port is near the expected landfall, it is likely to face significant disruptions. This can halt the export of crude oil and refined products, potentially leading to increased fuel prices and supply shortages.

  • Infrastructure Damage: Storm surges and flooding can damage port infrastructure, impacting long-term operations and requiring extensive repair efforts.

Critical Texas Logistics Hubs

Houston Metro Area

  • Significance: Houston's extensive transportation network includes major railroads, highways, and the port facilities, making it a central logistics hub for the distribution of goods nationwide.

  • Potential Impacts: Flooding and power outages can disrupt operations in warehouses and distribution centers, causing delays in the movement of consumer goods, electronics, and automotive parts. This can lead to increased lead times and costs for businesses and consumers across the country.

Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)

  • Significance: The DFW area is a critical logistics hub with significant rail and trucking routes, serving as a distribution center for goods across the central and western U.S.

  • Potential Impacts: Heavy rainfall and potential flooding can disrupt transportation networks, causing delays in the delivery of goods. This impacts supply chains for consumer goods, electronics, and automotive parts, leading to production delays and increased costs.

San Antonio

  • Significance: San Antonio is an important logistics center for goods moving between Mexico and the U.S., supporting industries such as automotive and electronics.

  • Potential Impacts: Disruptions can affect cross-border trade and the timely delivery of goods, impacting production schedules and inventory levels.

Preparation Strategies for Businesses and Communities Facing Beryl's Arrival

Develop Contingency Plans

  • Diversify Supply Chains: Identify alternative suppliers and logistic routes to mitigate risks. Ensure that critical components and materials have multiple sources.

  • Increase Inventory Levels: Stock up on essential items to buffer against potential supply disruptions.

Strengthen Communication Channels

  • Stakeholder Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with suppliers, customers, and employees, providing regular updates on potential impacts and mitigation strategies.

  • Establish Crisis Management Teams: Create dedicated teams to manage response efforts, including monitoring the storm’s progress and coordinating with local authorities.

Secure Infrastructure

  • Facility Preparation: Reinforce physical infrastructure to withstand high winds and flooding. Secure equipment and important documents in elevated, protected areas.

  • Ensure Backup Power: Verify that backup generators are operational and have adequate fuel supplies.

Monitor Nowcast and Real-Time Updates

  • Utilize weather monitoring tools like WeatherOptics for real-time and short term critical forecasts that allow you to see which specific business operations are likely to be impacted by Beryl, and what actions need to be taken to mitigate effects

WeatherOptics: Providing Critical Insights Before, During, and After Events like Beryl

As Hurricane Beryl approaches the Texas coastline, businesses and communities must prepare for imminent disruptions and challenges. The potential impacts on major ports, such as Houston and Corpus Christi, and key logistics hubs, like Houston Metro, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Antonio, underscore the need for proactive measures.

WeatherOptics provides essential tools and real-time forecasts to help businesses and communities navigate these challenges effectively. Industry-leading products like RightRoute – the most advanced weather-routing software on the market – and Critical Events – AI-automated briefings and warnings about large-scale weather systems – can save businesses and communities significant time and money.

By utilizing WeatherOptics' advanced weather monitoring, you can receive up-to-the-minute updates and critical forecasts that pinpoint which specific operations are likely to be affected by Beryl. This allows for timely and informed decisions, ensuring that mitigation strategies are in place to minimize disruptions and safeguard assets.

While Hurricane Beryl poses a significant threat, the right preparation and tools can help mitigate its impact. Stay informed, communicate effectively, and utilize resources like WeatherOptics to ensure resilience and safety in the face of this powerful storm.

Learn more about our suite of weather risk products here.


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