Culture

Millions without power in Houston after Beryl batters Texas


By Juan A. Lozano and Mark Vancleave | Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — Many of the millions left without power after Hurricane Beryl crashed into Texas sweltered and grumbled Tuesday as the storm gutted access to air conditioning, food and water, and smothering heat and humidity draped over the nation’s fourth-largest city.

Frustration mounted that Houston appeared to buckle under a storm not as powerful as previous ones. State officials were questioned whether utilities were prepared in advance, and at least one said they would withhold judgement until after the lights were turned back on.

“We can handle it, but not the kids,” said Walter Perez, 49, as he arrived early Tuesday at celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Houston, which served as a cooling center and distributed 40-bottle packs of water to cars that drove up.

Perez said he, his wife, their 3-year-old son and 3-week-old daughter, and his father-in-law retreated from their apartment after a night he described as “bad, bad, bad, bad.”

A heat advisory took effect through Wednesday in the Houston area and beyond, with temperatures expected to soar into the 90s (above 32.2 Celsius) and humidity that could make it feel as hot as 105 degrees (40.5 Celsius). The National Weather Service described the conditions as potentially dangerous given the lack of power and air conditioning.

Beryl, which made landfall early Monday as a Category 1 hurricane, has been blamed for at least seven U.S. deaths — one in Louisiana and six in Texas — and at least 11 in the Caribbean. At midday Tuesday, it was a post-tropical cyclone centered over Arkansas and was forecast to bring heavy rains and possible flooding to a swath extending to the Great Lakes and Canada.

More than 2 million homes and businesses around Houston lacked electricity Tuesday, down from a peak of over 2.7 million on Monday, according to PowerOutage.us. For many, it was a miserable repeat after storms in May killed eight people and left nearly 1 million without power amid flooded streets.

Food spoiled in listless refrigerators in neighborhoods that pined for air conditioning. Long lines of cars and people queued up at any fast food restaurant, food truck or gas station that had power and was open.

Patrons lined up on one block to eat at KFC, Jack in the Box or Denny’s — or just to get a few minutes in some cooler air. Dwight Yell, 54, had power at his house but took a disabled neighbor, who did not, to Denny’s for some food.

He complained that city and state officials did not alert residents well enough to a storm initially projected to land much farther down the coast: “They didn’t give us enough warning, where maybe we could go get gas or prepare to go out of town if the lights go out.”

Robin Taylor, who got takeout from Denny’s, was getting tired of the same old struggle. She has been living a hotel since her home was damaged by the storms in May. When Beryl hit, her hotel room flooded.

She was …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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