Saturday, July 20, 2024

Category 5 storm barrels toward Jamaica with record 165 mph Hurricane Beryl

Hurricane Beryl It has claimed at least four lives in the Caribbean As this week continues to bring heavy rainfall, “life-threatening” winds and flooding, forecasters warn it will be at least a tropical storm as it moves toward Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center said in an update early Tuesday that the storm remains a Category 5 and is currently at 235 in the Caribbean Sea. Miles southeast of the Dominican Republic, it had sustained winds of nearly 165 mph — making it the strongest July hurricane on record since Emily toppled in 2015. In an afternoon update, the center said maximum sustained winds had decreased slightly to 160 mph with high gusts.

Three people were killed in Grenada and one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, according to officials, who warned there could be more casualties. In Grenada, two people died on the island of Carriacou and one died when a tree fell on a house on River Road.

Grenada Prime Minister Dicken Mitchell said many power lines and roads in the island nation were impassable due to debris.

“The situation is dire,” Deacon said. “There is no harbor. The houses and buildings on the island are almost completely destroyed.”

Beryl is moving westward at 22 mph across the Caribbean, the NHC said, and will continue until Wednesday when it is forecast to pass near Jamaica. The hurricane will then approach the Cayman Islands on Thursday and reach the Yucatan Peninsula overnight.

“Weakening is forecast later today, but Beryl is still expected to remain near major hurricane intensity as it moves into the central Caribbean and passes near Jamaica on Wednesday and the Cayman Islands on Thursday,” the center said in an update on Tuesday. “While Beryl is forecast to remain a hurricane in the northwest Caribbean, further weakening is expected thereafter.”

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Jamaica upgraded its advisory from a watch to a hurricane warning, and Prime Minister Andrew Holness urged people to be prepared Look for higher, safer ground. He also warned that emergency services cannot be run during the peak of the cyclone.

“We have a looming disaster, and we have to deal with it with the seriousness it deserves,” Holness said. “We’re going to have some adverse weather impacts, whether it’s a direct hit or a glancing blow…so everybody needs to be in a state of preparedness now.”

A large part of the Caribbean is now bracing for significant impact and damage this week. Jamaica is under a cyclone warning, with heavy rain and flooding likely on Wednesday.

A storm surge could reach 5 to 8 feet above normal tide levels in Jamaica, where up to 12 inches of rain could fall, and the southwestern Haitian Peninsula by Wednesday. In the Cayman Islands, storm surge could raise water levels 2 to 4 feet above normal.

Beryl’s effects could reach the continental US, with minor coastal flooding in southeast Texas or southwest Louisiana. National Weather Service Field office in Lake Charles, Louisiana. If the cyclone moves further north than expected, more damage is likely.

Fishing vessels are damaged after Hurricane Beryl passed through Bridgetown Fisheries in Barbados on July 1, 2024. Ricardo Mazalan / AB

Tropical storm warnings remain in place south of Hispaniola — the island that includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic — under a hurricane watch. to the southern coast of Haiti and the Cayman Islands.

Beryl was the first hurricane classified as Category 4 or higher to form in June and the first Category 4 storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. It is the strongest hurricane to pass through the Windward Islands, including Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Martinique.

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