Beryl heads toward Jamaica

Hurricane Beryl is the earliest Category 5 storm to ever form in the Atlantic, fueled by record warm waters.

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World News

July 2, 2024 - 1:59 PM

UPDATE: Map locating Hurricane Beryl in the Atlantic.

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (AP) — Hurricane Beryl roared through open waters on Tuesday as a monstrous Category 5 storm heading toward Jamaica after earlier making landfall in the southeast Caribbean, killing at least four people.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Jamaica and a hurricane watch for Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Cayman Brac and for Haiti’s entire southern coast. Beryl was forecast to start losing intensity on Tuesday but still be near major hurricane strength when it passes near or over Jamaica early Wednesday, near the Cayman Islands on Thursday and into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The center said Beryl was expected to bring life-threatening winds and storm surge to Jamaica, where officials warned residents in flood-prone areas to prepare for evacuation.

“I am encouraging all Jamaicans to take the hurricane as a serious threat,” Prime Minister Andrew Holness said in a public address late Monday. 

“It is, however, not a time to panic.”

Beryl is the earliest Category 5 storm ever to form in the Atlantic, fueled by record warm waters.

Late Tuesday morning, the storm was located about 235 miles southeast of Isla Beata in the Dominican Republic. It had top winds of 160 mph and was moving west-northwest at 22 mph.

In Miami, National Hurricane Center Director Michael Brennan said Jamaica appears to be in the direct path of Beryl.

“We are most concerned about Jamaica, where we are expecting the core of a major hurricane to pass near or over the island,” he said in an online briefing. “You want to be in a safe place where you can ride out the storm by nightfall (Tuesday). Be prepared to stay in that location through Wednesday.”

Storm surge of 5-8 feet above typical tide levels are likely in Jamaica, as well as heavy rainfall.

“This is a big hazard in the Caribbean, especially with the mountainous islands,” Brennan said. “This could cause life threatening flash floods and mudslides in some of these areas.”

A tropical storm warning was in place for the entire southern coast of Hispaniola, an island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Trail of devastation

As the storm barreled through the Caribbean Sea, rescue crews in the southeast Caribbean fanned out across the region to determine the extent of the damage that Hurricane Beryl inflicted after landing on Carriacou, an island in Grenada, as a Category 4 storm.

Three people were reported killed in Grenada and Carriacou and another in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, officials said.

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