The hurricane knocked out power, downed trees, closed schools and flooded roads throughout the region. High Island suffered heavy damage.
In northwest Bridge City, a man died when his carport fell on him outside his home on Beverly Street, Police Chief Steve Faircloth reported.
Police have identified the victim as John Simon, 80, of Bridge City.
During the storm, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a man whose 40-foot sailboat became stranded in the shallows of Taylor Bayou, where he had taken shelter.
After a 4:30 a.m. call, a Coast Guard helicopter hoisted 65-year-old Daniel Hogenaver of San Antonio from his boat and took him to the Sabine Coast Guard station where he was in good condition, according to a news release.
Hogenaver was attempting to sail along the Intracoastal Waterway from Cortez, Fla., to Corpus Christi.
An initial National Weather Service wind analysis showed that Humberto came ashore with about 85 mph winds, just 11 mph shy of Category 2 status. Gusts of up to 105 - the sustained wind speed that Hurricane Rita achieved in Beaumont in 2005 - were felt around 3 a.m. along the coast and as far away as Port Arthur, Hamshire and Fannett.
In Jefferson County, Beaumont saw sustained winds of 54 mph with gusts up to 84 mph, according to Felix Navejar, a Lake Charles-based meteorologist for the National Weather Service. However, the southern part of the city felt 74 mph winds, the threshold for hurricane category, according to a measurement taken at Odom Academy.
The National Hurricane Center noted that the storm, which moved at between 6 and 8 mph as it crossed from Southeast Texas into Louisiana, was compact and very small, with hurricane-force winds extending only 15 miles from its center. By comparison, Hurricane Ritas hurricane-force winds extended 70 miles from center, with tropical storm winds felt up to almost 200 miles away.
Navejar said high pressure to the east and low pressure to the west worked together to push the storm farther east and over water longer than expected, allowing it to rapidly grow from tropical storm to 11 mph away from being Category 2 status.
As for the rain, National Hurricane Center projections Wednesday of up to 15 inches of rain were not far off the mark.
Navejar said early estimates show that as much as 11 inches were recorded along the coast and near Fannett.
Beaumont netted 10 inches of rain, while Port Arthur saw about 7 inches. There were reports of as much as 16 inches falling on Bolivar Peninsula.
By contrast, the towns of China, Sour Lake and Bevil Oaks saw only 1 to 2 inches of rain. The usually flood-prone Pinewood community between Sour Lake and Bevil Oaks had little or no standing water at daybreak.
Most schools were closed Thursday. Lamar University and Lamar Institute of Technology will remain closed Friday. Lumberton and Hardin-Jefferson school districts delayed opening Thursday.
Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux urged residents to leave if they had somewhere to go since power could be out for several days.
At least 112,000 Entergy customers in Southeast Texas lost power. It could take until Tuesday to restore service to all of them, Entergy Texas President Joe Domino said.
"This is a major event," Entergy communications manager Dave Caplan said.
Entergy crews were assessing damage and planned an assessment by helicopter once conditions were safe for flight.
The hurricane damaged or destroyed 50 high-voltage transmission poles, Caplan said. Entergy had 150 workers in the field with 770 more in route and 600 more requested from other Entergy service areas, Caplan said.
Memorial Hermann Baptist Orange Hospital was running on generator power. Emergency room personnel had treated and released several people with minor abrasions.
In High Island, the roof of the High Island Food Mart had been ripped off and was in the parking lot and several travel trailers were overturned.
Galveston County emergency management official were trying to confirm reports of a tornado touchdown in the High Island area.
At High Island's football stadium, the scoreboard was knocked over into a street and bees swarmed out. Clusters of lights for the football field fell to the ground. Poles supporting them appeared to have snapped. A tree limb went through a window at the school administration building.
High Island resident George Kahla was on his backhoe with his dog about 8:15 a.m. trying to clear debris from streets.
Downed trees, flooding and power outages were reported throughout Jefferson, Orange and Chambers counties.
Dunaway Law Firm in Orange burned during the storm, and the cause of the fire was under investigation.
Beaumont Fire Department responded to two house fires believed to have been caused by the storm, at 4615 Gladys St. and 5440 Bigner Road, Fire Chief C.A. "Pete" Shelton said.
In Port Arthur, the hurricane ripped about 30 feet of roofing from Allen Samuels Chrysler Jeep Dodge service department on U.S. 69, parts manger Eddy Richard said. The back door blew in and insulation was strewn throughout the area.
In Sabine Pass where most drainage ditches were overflowing, a woman was transported to a hospital after being bitten by a copperhead snake.
Texas 87 was closed between High Island and Rollover Pass due to downed power lines and debris. Along Texas 124 between High Island and Winnie, power lines and power poles were down. Water covered Texas 87 just north of the Intercoastal Waterway, blocking access to Sabine Pass.
Interstate 10 remained open, but some sections of the frontage road were closed due to flooding, especially near Adams Bayou in Orange County, Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Mark Shepherd said.
In Jefferson County, jurors were dismissed for the rest of the week, Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Fountain said. They should check in with the District Clerk's office or assigned court as soon as convenient.
Non-essential county employees were advised to stay home and check in with supervisors throughout the day. Essential personnel should report to work, Fountain said.
In Beaumont, most businesses were closed near the intersection of Dowlen Road and Phelan Boulevard. The two exceptions, McDonald's and Tasty Creme, had drive-through lines wrapping around the buildings shortly before 8 a.m.
Check BeaumontEnterprise.com for more updates
Enterprise reporters Mike Smith in Bridge City, Ryan Myers in High Island, Fred Davis in Orange, Christine Rappleye in Port Neches and Sabine Pass and Brian Pearson, Dan Wallach, Emily Guevara, Jemimah Noonoo and Rose Ybarra in Beaumont contributed to this report.