Hurricane Beryl heads toward Gulf

Hurricane Beryl made landfall on Mexico's coast Friday. It is forecasted to head toward northern Mexico and Texas.


National News

July 5, 2024 - 2:30 PM

A man looks out of the window of his home, which was destroyed by Hurricane Beryl in Clifton, Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Photo by AP Photo/Lucanus Ollivierre

TULUM, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Beryl made landfall on Mexico’s coast near the resort of Tulum as a Category 2 storm early Friday, whipping trees and knocking out power as it came ashore after leaving a trail of destruction across the eastern Caribbean.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that Beryl is expected to rapidly weaken to a tropical storm as it crosses over the Yucatan Peninsula before it re-emerges into the Gulf of Mexico and likely regains hurricane strength.

Once in the warm waters of the Gulf, Beryl is forecast to head toward northern Mexico near the Texas border, an area had already been soaked by Tropical Storm Alberto just a couple of weeks ago.

Once the earliest storm to develop into a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic, Beryl spread destruction in Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados in recent days.

Shortly after landfall, Beryl’s maximum windspeeds had decreased to 100 mph, according to the U.S. Hurricane Center.

Mexican authorities had moved some tourists and residents out, of low-lying areas around the Yucatan peninsula prior to landfall, but tens of thousands remained to tough out the 100 mph winds and expected storm surge. Much of the area around Tulum is just a few yards above sea level.

The city was plunged into darkness when the storm knocked out power as it came ashore. Screeching winds set off car alarms across the town.

Once a sleepy, laid-back village, in recent years Tulum has boomed with unrestrained development and now has about 50,000 permanent inhabitants and at least as many tourists on an average day. The resort now has its own international airport.

Early Friday, the storm’s center was about 15 miles north-northwest of Tulum and was moving west-northwest at 15 mph, the hurricane center said.

On Friday, Beryl was expected to weaken as it crossed over the Yucatan peninsula and re-emerge in the Gulf of Mexico, where the surprisingly resilient storm could once again become a hurricane and make a second landfall around Mexico’s border with Texas next week.

As the wind began gusting over Tulum’s beaches, four-wheelers with megaphones rolled along the sand telling people to leave. Tourists snapped photos of the growing surf, but military personnel urged them to leave.

Authorities around the Yucatan peninsula have prepared shelters, evacuated some small outlying coastal communities and even moved sea turtle eggs off beaches threatened by storm surge. In Tulum, authorities shut things down and evacuated beachside hotels.

Tourists were also taking precautions. Lara Marsters, 54, a therapist visiting Tulum from Boise, Idaho, said “this morning we woke up and just filled all of our empty water bottles with water from the tap and put it in the freezer … so we will have water to flush the toilet.”

“We expect that the power will go out,” Marsters said. “We’re going to hunker down and stay safe.”

But once Beryl re-emerges into the Gulf of Mexico a day later, forecasters say it is again expected to build to hurricane strength and could hit right around the Mexico-U.S. border, at Matamoros. That area was already soaked in June by Tropical Storm Alberto.