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Deadly storm Beryl cuts power to millions of Texans

Deadly storm Beryl cuts power to millions of Texans

At least four people have died after Hurricane Beryl slammed into south-east Texas, knocking out power for nearly three million people.

Beryl hit Texas on Monday morning as a category one hurricane, but it has since been downgraded to a tropical depression.

Officials warned of destructive winds, up to 15in (38cm) of rain and "life-threatening" storm surges.

More than 1,100 flights were cancelled at Houston's main airport on Monday, according to flightaware.com.

Some 2.6 million customers in Texas were without power as of Monday night, said poweroutage.us.

The storm caused at least 10 deaths in the Caribbean.

The Houston Chronicle reported that four people had died in Texas, but an affiliate of CBS News, the BBC's US partner, said seven had died in Harris and Montgomery counties.

A 53-year-old man died after winds downed power lines and knocked a tree on to his home in Harris County, causing his roof to collapse.

In the same county, which includes parts of Houston, 73-year-old grandmother Maria Loredo was reported dead after a tree crashed through the roof of her home, according to CBS affiliate KHOU.

Loredo's family told the news station she was home with her son, his wife, and her two grandchildren, ages two and seven, when the tree fell. No other family members were injured.

Also in Harris County, a Houston Police Department employee, Russell Richardson, 54, drowned after attempting to drive through high water on his way to work, according to Houston police.

Another person died in a house fire that is believed to have been sparked by lightning, Houston's mayor said.

Three people were also killed in Montgomery County. Officials say one man was killed when a tree fell on him while he was driving a tractor, and two homeless people died when a tree fell on their tent, reports KHOU.

Houston is a low-lying coastal city, making it prone to flooding.

Sustained wind speeds in the Houston area reached 75mph (120km/h) with wind gusts reaching 87mph as the storm struck.

Beryl was expected to continue to lose strength as it gradually tracks north-northeast, but flash flooding and heavy rain remained a risk.

In Louisiana, where over 30,000 people were without power due to the storm on Monday night, one person was killed when a tree fell on her home in the town of Benton, according to a local sheriff.

BBC

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