Hurricane Beryl: Texas officials urge preparedness

State officials are urging preparedness ahead of Hurricane Beryl, which is expected to hit northeast Mexico and the Texas coast early next week.

Sandbag distribution centers in towns along the Texas coastline were packed Friday. In Corpus Christi, a little before noon, city officials posted on social media that they ran out after loading 10,000 bags.

"I took a wrong turn, and I got caught in the line. And then I was going back that way to exit out. And the guy's like, hey, man, we got a little bit left. You want to go? So, I came in. So, praise God for that," said a man who got sandbags in Corpus Christi.

Sandbags were also distributed in Brownsville. The scene of controlled chaos is what state officials on Friday afternoon indicated they wanted to see.


"We need a prepared community, not a panicked community," said Chief Nim Kidd of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).

That plea from Chief Kidd came after he and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick were briefed on how the state is preparing. Patrick sat in for Gov. Greg Abbott who is on an economic development trip in Asia.

"But we have been in touch. And in his absence, I'm acting governor whenever he is out of the state or out of the country. And I will be overseeing the operation," said Patrick.

As a powerful hurricane, Beryl has already left behind considerable damage and is expected to hit Texas on Monday. The coastal bend could catch what's known as the dirty side, which is the stronger part.

"Once it moves into the water, the storm will tell us more of where it's heading, and we'll know to be able to pinpoint it much more than we can today. But right now, if you're along the coast from Brownsville to the Louisiana border, pay attention," said Patrick.

Patrick also expressed concern that Texas beaches are currently filled with people having a long holiday weekend.

"Again, if you have family and friends that are vacationing on the coast, contact them. Make sure they pay attention. But tell them about the rip currents. You always hear about it, but the rip currents are going to be really bad," said Patrick.

As the state operations center was being ramped up Friday, a disaster declaration for 39 counties was issued. It allows state agencies to spend money outside their budgets for protective measures. The declaration could be extended to other counties. 

As of Friday evening, a mass evacuation order is not anticipated along the coast and there are no plans to reverse the traffic flow on Hwy 77.

"I think people, as the governor said, even inland, need to pay attention come Sunday and Monday. We believe you're going to have rain all the way into the I-35 corridor. Does not mean you're going to have tropical storm or hurricane force winds. We won't know that with certainty until later this weekend," said Chief Kidd.

Flooding all the way up to Waco and even Texarkana later next week is a concern. 

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