Hurricane Beryl lashed Texas with strong winds and heavy rain on July 8 as it churned inland, forcing the closure of oil ports, cancellation of hundreds of flights and leaving nearly 2 million homes and businesses without power.

Beryl, the season's earliest Category 5 hurricane on record, made landfall near the coastal town of Matagorda, Texas early in the day, pounding the coast with dangerous storm surges and heavy rain, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The storm, which was expected to rapidly weaken as it moved inland, swept a destructive path through Jamaica, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines last week, killing at least 11 people and toppling buildings and power lines.

In Texas, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on social media platform X on July 8 that preliminary information indicated one person died after a tree fell on a house.

In Texas, the biggest U.S. oil and natural gas producing-state, the energy industry braced for Beryl's impact as the powerful storm slowed refining activity and prompted the evacuation of some production sites.

"Life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall is ongoing across portions of Texas. Damaging winds ongoing along the coast, with strong winds moving inland," the NHC said, adding that Beryl was now expected to lose power.

Following warnings that it could be a deadly storm for communities in its path, residents had rushed to board up windows and stock up on fuel and other essential supplies.

Before daybreak, strong gusts and torrential rain lashed cities and towns such as Galveston, Sargent, Lake Jackson and Freeport, television footage showed.

The storm had strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane as it crossed the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall, but the NHC said it was now expected to weaken rapidly.

"Beryl is expected to weaken to a tropical storm later today and to a tropical depression on Tuesday," the NHC said. "Steady-to-rapid weakening is expected as the center moves inland."

Hurricanes typically weaken as they move over land.

Located about 55 miles (90 km) south-south-west of Houston, Beryl was moving at 12 mph (19 kph) and was expected to barrel over eastern parts of the state through the day before moving into the Lower Mississippi Valley and the Ohio Valley on July 9 and 10, the NHC said.

Acting Texas Governor Dan Patrick on July 7 declared 120 counties to be disaster areas ahead of the storm and warned Beryl would be deadly for people directly in its path.

Schools said they would close as the storm approached. Airlines cancelled more than 1,300 flights, and officials ordered a smattering of evacuations in beach towns.

More than 1.8 million homes and businesses in Texas have lost power, according to local utilities and data.

Several counties in southeastern Texas — including Houston, where many U.S. energy companies are headquartered — are under a flash-flood warning as thunderstorms unleashed up to six inches (15 cm) of rain, with two to four more inches expected.

Resident Gary Short said he was most concerned about possible flooding, which the NHC warned was expected across parts of Texas into Monday night.

"I'm more worried about the rain than anything," he said as he filled up cans with gasoline at a service station on Sunday. "Other than that, not too concerned. Just getting ready."

Closures of major oil-shipping ports around Corpus Christi, Galveston and Houston ahead of the storm could disrupt crude oil exports, along with shipments of crude to refineries and motor fuel from the plants.

Some oil producers, including Shell and Chevron, evacuated personnel from their Gulf of Mexico offshore production platforms ahead of the storm.