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A Beryl of wind and rain

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    Beryl ripped through Texas and left a wake of destruction, including the steeple of the First Methodist Church of Dayton. The Vindicator | Russell Payne
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    Dayton Public Works crewmembers Steve Kelley and Lloyd Ligons clear debris from the roadway on North Main Street shortly after Beryl cleared the area. The Vindicator | Russell Payne
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    The Liberty County Courthouse square was not spared damage as Beryl toppled a historic pecan tree. The Vindicator | Russell Payne
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    Locals pitch in a helping hand and work to clear trees from Texas 321 on Monday just after Beryl had passed through the area. The Vindicator | Russell Payne
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    The Vindicator | Russell Payne
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    Powerlines were down on the Bypass in front of Chili’s in Liberty. Electric lines across the county were damaged, causing dangerous travel conditions.

Only a month into the 2024 hurricane season the Texas Gulf Coast has been pounded twice as Alberto and Beryl made landfall in the Lone Star state. 

While Alberto left little impact on the northern coastal area of the state, Beryl brought plenty of theatrics on its record-setting course across the Atlantic and eventually into the gulf before slamming Texas on Monday morning. 

“Our hearts grieve for all Texans impacted by Hurricane Beryl, including our fellow Texans who tragically lost their lives or were injured,” said Governor Abbott. “I remain in regular contact with Acting Governor Dan Patrick and Chief Nim Kidd regarding the state’s ongoing response to Hurricane Beryl and recovery efforts in impacted parts of Texas. We also will continue to stay in contact with electrical providers about the necessity to quickly restore power. The safety of Texans remains our No. 1 priority, and I urge everyone across the state to continue to heed the guidance of local officials as severe weather threats persist in the coming days. We will remain engaged around the clock until every Texan recovers.” 

For Liberty County, there was plenty of wind and rain as the Category 1 storm moved onshore, and the aftereffects are still being felt as residents and businesses are left without power across large portions of the county as of this writing. 

Entergy Texas has continued work to deal with major outages across the county, with Cleveland and south of Liberty remaining without power, as well as several other areas in the county. 

According to Entergy, the company experienced significant damage from Hurricane Beryl, which damaged equipment, including damage to high-voltage lines to supply power to substations. 

Liberty, who supplies its own electrical service, had power restored to most of the city late Monday, but on Tuesday morning, it lost connection to the main feeder line from Entergy, leaving the entire city without power until late in the afternoon. 

In a statement, Entergy hoped to have power restored to at least 50% of its customers by the end of the day Wednesday. 

On Wednesday morning, around 40% of the 16,000 SHECO customers in the county remained without power as crews assessed and worked to repair damaged lines.  

One of the biggest fallouts since Beryl made its way through the area was the availability of gas and food, which brought heavy traffic to the Dayton area as businesses could service customers, many of which were traveling from as far away as the west side of Houston. 

While there was significant rainfall across the area, it was nothing that residents were unaccustomed to, with most of the damage coming from excessive wind gusts. 

A couple of the most significant impacts were felt in Liberty in Dayton, as a historic old pecan tree on the courthouse square lawn was lost. In Dayton, the steeple at the First Methodist Church collapsed midafternoon Monday. 

According to County Judge Jay Knight, he was saddened by the loss of the tree and would like to search for an adequate replacement.  

As for the church steeple, Rev. Guy Williams said the damage appeared only to impact the steeple and bell system, which has become known for its spiritual sounds throughout the day, and said that the church had already begun the claim process. 

Businesses have been busy cleaning debris, with several losing signage during the storm, which once was Category 5 before entering the gulf. 

On Tuesday, facilities were being opened to provide cooling opportunities and a place to charge much-needed electronics for communication and medical reasons. 

The Vindicator will continue to cover the aftermath of Beryl and provide updates online and via social media.