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Texas Matters: How Hurricane Beryl is tied to climate change

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As of Friday, the forecast for Beryl is trending toward a South Texas landfall on Sunday night.

If that happens, there will be significant impacts in South Texas including strong winds, heavy rain, and storm surges along the coast. That's the same coastline that was impacted by Tropical Storm Alberto just last month.

In May, NOAA predicted the highest number of storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes ever this season. The national weather agency’s forecast was for 4-to-7 major hurricanes (of Category 3 or higher).

The damage that high-powered storms deliver to the Texas coast is not limited to the winds, storm surge and flooding rainfall but also the spreading of highly toxic chemicals.

Luke Metzger the executive director of Environment Texas says Texas needs to prepare for the onslaught of storms with stronger safeguards for the oil and chemical industry, especially as more and stronger storms will be hitting Texas.

Power Outages
As we face this extremely active hurricane season, there’s also the possibility of extended periods of power outage. That puts a vulnerable population at risk: seniors.

Houston Public Media’s Colleen DeGuzman reports that while some senior care centers are heavily regulated, independent living communities are not much different than your average apartment complex.

Beach Tar
Black and sticky tar has made its way to Texas’ beaches again this summer. Originating from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, oil spills and shipwrecks, tar is a recurring phenomenon, from Galveston to South Padre Island. And the incoming Beryl may bring more back to the shore. For Texas Public Radio, Gaige Davila heads to South Padre Island to learn more.

Texas IVF
In vitro fertilization is one of the most common assistive procedures for people looking to conceive. Unlike the Alabama Supreme Court, a Texas appeals court says frozen embryos like the ones created through IVF aren't legally children.

Anti-abortion groups say an unborn child is a child, whether they're in the womb or outside it. The Texas Supreme Court stayed silent on a Denton couple's divorce dispute over embryos created through in vitro fertilization.

That leaves a lower court’s decision in place, which is that frozen embryos aren’t legally children. KERA's Toluwani Osibamowo reports it may now be up to Texas lawmakers to further clarify state rules around about IVF.

Rural Health Care
Texas has lost more rural hospitals than any other state in recent years, and many counties lack adequate primary care services. In response to the challenges faced by rural communities and disaster-stricken areas, mobile health clinics are rolling out to provide vital medical services where they're needed most. KACU’s Alexsis Jones reports on how these clinics could help residents of the Big Country and beyond.

Community Paramedicine
In some rural parts of Texas, where hospitals and doctors’ offices are in short supply, people often turn to calling 9-1-1 emergency services just for basic medical care. Experts say that’s a problem for patients and hospitals. But a growing model called “community paramedicine” aims to address it by having paramedics regularly check in on people before a health issue turns into an emergency.

Marfa Public Radio’s Travis Bubenik has a look at how one of these programs is playing out in rural West Texas.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi