Powerful hurricane Beryl hits Caribbean islands, causing serious damage

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico. — On Monday, the dangerous and extremely powerful hurricane “Beryl” made landfall in the Caribbean island of Carriacou as category 4after becoming the earliest storm of that strength in the Atlanticfueled by warmer water temperatures.

Carriacou is one of the Grenada Islandswhere authorities said winds increased to 240 kilometers per hourripping off roofs and causing other damage in the area. Category 5 is the most intense, with winds exceeding 250 km/h.

“This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation,” he said. National Hurricane Center from the United States. “Take action now to protect your lives!”

Hurricane warnings were in effect in Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, Tobago and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where thousands of people were sheltering in homes and shelters. The last major hurricane to hit the southeastern Caribbean was Ivan, which killed dozens of people in Grenada nearly 20 years ago.

“It’s going to be terrible,” said Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who urged people to stay indoors “and wait out this monster.”

NBC Radio in St. Vincent and the Grenadines said it received reports of roofs torn off churches and schools as communications began to collapse across the southeastern Caribbean.

“Jesus Christ!” a woman can be heard shouting in a video showing tin roofs flying through the air.

By mid-morning, Beryl was located 50 kilometers northeast of Granada with maximum sustained winds of 240 km/h and was moving west-northwest at 31 km/h.

Barbados authorities received more than a dozen reports of damaged roofs, fallen trees and downed power poles across the island, said Kerry Hinds, director of emergency management.

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Once Beryl passes, drones will assess the damage and speed up the response, said Wilfred Abrahams, the minister for home affairs and information. Previously, receiving information used to take two hours as crews fanned out across the island, compared with seven minutes with drones, he said.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for Martinique and Trinidad. A tropical storm warning was issued for Dominica, the entire southern coast of Haiti, and from Punta Palenque in the Dominican Republic westward to the Haitian border.

Forecasters warned of a dangerous storm surge of up to 3 metres (10 feet) in areas where Beryl makes landfall, with up to 15 centimetres (6 inches) of rain expected for Barbados and nearby islands and a possible 25 cm (10 inches) in some spots, especially in Grenada and the Grenadines.

“This is a very dangerous situation,” the hurricane center in Miami warned.

Beryl is expected to lose some strength over the Caribbean Sea, on a path that could take it south of Jamaica and then towards the Yucatan Peninsula as a category 1 meteor.

“It should be noted that Beryl is expected to remain a significant hurricane throughout its path through the Caribbean region,” the hurricane center added.

Authorities on some islands in the southeastern Caribbean announced controlled power outages and warned of water shortages ahead of the storm, while urging people to seek shelter. They warned of landslides and flash flooding while closing schools, airports and government offices.

Powerful hurricane Beryl hits Caribbean islands, causing serious damage

Hours before the storm, Michael Beckles of Barbados said he feared the worst for his homeland even though people were taking the storm seriously.

“No matter how prepared we try to be, there are a lot of things we can’t control,” he said. “The power will probably go out. We’ll have problems with water. There are a lot of homes that aren’t prepared for a storm like this.”

Beryl strengthened from a tropical depression into a Category 3 hurricane in just 42 hours, a feat that has only been documented six other times in Atlantic hurricane history, according to hurricane expert Sam Lillo.

It is also the earliest Category 4 hurricane on record in the Atlantic season, surpassing Dennis, which strengthened to a Category 4 storm on July 8, 2005.

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“This is a dangerous hurricane for the southern Windward Islands,” said Michael Lowry, a hurricane specialist and storm surge expert, who warned that when it makes landfall “it’s going to be a very serious situation.”

Warm waters are feeding “Beryl,” he said. Brian McNoldand a tropical meteorology researcher at the University of Miami, who noted that ocean heat content in the deep Atlantic is the highest on record for this time of year.

Beryl packed energy into record-warm waters, which are warmer now than they would have been at the height of hurricane season in September, he said.

It’s also the first time a hurricane has formed this far east in the tropical Atlantic in June on record, breaking a long-standing record set in 1933, according to Philip Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University.

Caribbean leaders were bracing not only for Beryl, but also for a cluster of thunderstorms trailing behind the hurricane that have a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression.

“It’s always a concern when you have storms back-to-back,” Lowry said. “If two storms pass over the same area or nearby, the first storm weakens the infrastructure, so the secondary system doesn’t need to be as strong to have serious impacts.”

Beryl is the second named storm in what is expected to be a very active hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 in the Atlantic. A few days ago, tropical storm Alberto made landfall in northeastern Mexico, generating heavy rains that caused the deaths of four people.

A tropical depression formed near the port of Veracruz in eastern Mexico on Sunday night. The US hurricane center warned of possible flooding and landslides.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the 2024 hurricane season will be well above average, with 17 to 25 named storms. Up to 13 hurricanes and four Category 3 or higher hurricanes are expected.

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 14 named storms, seven of them hurricanes and three of them Category 3 hurricanes or higher. Category 5 is the most intense, with winds exceeding 250 km/h.

You may also be interested in: “Caricom annual summit postponed due to hurricane Beryl”


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2024-07-10 12:12:38

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