Hurricane Beryl swallows Surfside Beach, hinders first responders, and destroys iconic homes

Shannon Ryan Image
Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Beryl's wrath felt on Surfside and destroys iconic homes
The police deemed Surfside Beach too dangerous for anyone to access the island after Hurricane Beryl devastated the area, even for first responders.

BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Hurricane Beryl swallowed Surfside Beach Monday morning. Police Chief William Moncier said the storm surge washed over the entire island at about 1 a.m.

Structures were destroyed and damaged, and powerlines were torn down.

Moncier said conditions were so dangerous that even residents and business owners were not permitted to return to their properties until noon Monday. First responders guarded access to the island.

On Monday evening, residents and business owners were the only people permitted entry.

Moncier said conditions were so poor that his department and others were not responding to 911 calls. Instead, the fire department utilized a single high-water vehicle for critical calls.

At least four of the islands' historic A-frame homes were destroyed in the storm.

Monday, ABC13 spoke with Robert Lee as he helped his friend Bridget, who rents out one of the homes, salvage her belongings.

"It's just a lot to process at the moment," Lee said on behalf of his friend, who was too emotional to speak.

Bridget survived the storm because she evacuated.

"These hurricanes are too unpredictable. I wouldn't ride out one right on the beach," Lee said.

Next door, the Baucher family tried but admitted they wished they hadn't.

"We made a bad call," Kimber Baucher said.

The wind rocked the house so violently that Baucher said her sister became motion sick, vomiting uncontrollably.

"It just kept getting worse," Baucher explained.

The wind pushed through the door to the adjoining room, where their six children under ten slept, suctioning the other door shut and trapping them. Baucher said it took all the men in the family to pry them free.

"Screaming, crying, scared," she explained.

Tourists from Oklahoma's storm country, Baucher, know the family underestimated Beryl. As they left their July 4 rental Monday, she said it was a mistake they would not make again.

"We learned our lesson. If there is a hurricane on the radar, we are out of here," she said.

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