Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Hurricane Beryl ‘getting stronger’ as it heads toward Jamaica after devastating Grenada hurricane

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CNN

Hurricane Beryl hit the Windward Islands on Monday as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane, bringing catastrophic winds, torrential rains and life-threatening storm surges.

The National Hurricane Center warned Monday evening that the storm was “getting stronger as it moves rapidly across the southeastern Caribbean,” with winds 2 mph below that of a Category 5 hurricane.

“Fluctuations in strength are likely over the next day or so, but Beryl is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane as it moves over the eastern Caribbean Sea,” the center said.

Hurricane Beryl made landfall just after 11:00 a.m. EDT on the island of Carriacou, Grenada, in the Caribbean Sea with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. It is the strongest known hurricane to pass through the Grenadines, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data dating back to 1851.

“There were widespread reports of destruction and devastation in Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Within half an hour, Carriacou was flattened,” Grenada Prime Minister Deacon Mitchell told a news briefing on Monday.

Mitchell said there were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries, but warned that could change.

“We have to realize how fierce and powerful the hurricane is, so we are not out of the woods yet. We cannot say for sure that no one was hurt or that there was no loss of life as a result of the hurricane,” he said.

The storm caused power outages across the island chain. About 95% of Grenada lost power due to Hurricane Beryl, Prime Minister’s Office press secretary Naila K. Etienne told CNN on Monday. Communications across Grenada are down, and some people have lost internet service, Etienne said.

All schools and businesses are closed, including the airport, the secretary said, adding that only hospitals and the national police force are currently operating. The airport reported sustained winds of 92 mph and gusts of 121 mph Monday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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Beryl’s arrival marks an exceptionally early start to the Atlantic hurricane season. On Sunday, it became the first ever Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic and the only Category 4 in June. abnormally warm ocean water The events that led to Beryl’s alarming strengthening are a clear indication that this hurricane season will be far from normal given global warming caused by fossil fuel pollution.

Hurricane Beryl is breaking records for June because the ocean is now as warm as it usually is at the height of hurricane season, said Jim Kossin, a hurricane expert and science adviser to the nonprofit First Street Foundation.

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“Hurricanes don’t know what month it is, they just know their environment,” Kossin told CNN. “Beryl is breaking June records because she thinks it’s September.”

The ocean heat that powers Brill’s unprecedented power “definitely has a human imprint on it,” Kossin added.

Beryl is a dangerous hurricane: The storm was located 575 miles east-southeast of Piata Island, Dominican Republic, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and was moving west-northwest at 21 mph as of Monday evening. Beryl’s maximum sustained winds extend 40 miles from the center, while tropical storm-force winds extend 125 miles. The center of the storm is expected to move away from the southern Windward Islands Monday night and across the southeastern and central Caribbean Sea through Tuesday, and is expected to pass near Jamaica on Wednesday.

Life-threatening storms and floods: National Hurricane Center to caution “Life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels as much as 6 to 9 feet above normal tide levels in coastal wind areas near where the eye of the storm makes landfall in the Hurricane Warning Area,” the center noted. The center also noted that large waves from the storm will continue in the Windward and southern Leeward Islands over the next couple of days. “Surfing is also expected to reach the southern coasts of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola late tonight through Tuesday. These waves are expected to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”

• Hurricane warning: This warning is in effect for Jamaica, with a possible hurricane by Wednesday. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Punta Palenque west to the border with Haiti, and the southern coast of Haiti from the border with the Dominican Republic to Anse de Haino.

Evacuation of hundreds: More than 400 people were sheltering in hurricane shelters across Barbados on Sunday night, Ramona Archer Bradshaw, Barbados’ chief shelter officer, told CNN affiliate CBC News.

Ricardo Mazalan / AFP

Hurricane Beryl caused flooding of a street in Hastings, Barbados, on Monday.

Ricardo Mazalan / AFP

Waves hit palm trees as Hurricane Beryl made landfall in Hastings, Barbados, on Monday.

State of Emergency in Grenada: The state of emergency declared by Grenada Governor General Cecile La Grenade on Sunday evening will remain in effect until Tuesday morning. All businesses have been closed except for the police, hospitals, prisons, landfills and ports.

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Airports are still closed: Airports in Barbados, Grenada and St. Lucia were closed on Sunday evening as the hurricane approached. Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport was expected to reopen Tuesday morning, an airport spokesman said. Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport and St. Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport and George Charles Airport also suspended operations.

Cricket World Cup fans stuck: Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said Barbados was still hosting cricket fans from around the world who had travelled to the island for the T20 World Cup, with some due to leave as early as Monday or Tuesday. “Some of them have never been through a hurricane or a storm before,” she said, urging residents to support the visitors if they could.

Beryl’s arrival on land is far from the end of her story, and her long-term path remains uncertain.

The hurricane is expected to move generally west or northwest over the Caribbean Sea through Thursday, and is expected to remain a major hurricane — Category 3 or stronger — through the middle of the week before losing some of its strength.

Still, the hurricane will be a major one, with strong winds, heavy rains and rough seas extending beyond its center over much of the Caribbean. Beryl’s center could pass south of Jamaica on Wednesday and bring more severe impacts to the country even if it doesn’t make landfall there.

“The storm surge could raise water levels 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels in onshore wind areas along the immediate coast of Jamaica,” the hurricane center said.

cnn weather

Each line represents a different model for predicting Beryl’s path over the weekend. The space between the lines shows the uncertainty in Beryl’s path – the larger the space, the more uncertainty. Its path becomes even more uncertain after it makes landfall in the Yucatan.

Several days will likely pass between Beryl’s first arrival in the Windward Islands on Monday and its next possible arrival in or around Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula around Friday morning.

What happens after Beryl makes landfall again will determine whether the hurricane is able to reach the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. If Beryl survives its landfall and reaches the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it could spell trouble for northeastern Mexico or possibly the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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This season is already off to a busy start as a second storm — Tropical Storm Chris — made landfall near Tuxpan, Mexico off the Gulf Coast early Monday.

Hurricane Beryl is a worrying start to a hurricane season that meteorologists have warned will be hyperactive — and Beryl’s record-breaking activity may be a sign of what’s to come.

Beryl is the oldest major hurricane — defined as a Category 3 or higher — in the Atlantic Ocean in 58 years. The storm’s rapid intensification is extremely unusual this early in the hurricane season, according to National Hurricane Center Director Mike Brennan. It’s rare for tropical systems to form in the central Atlantic east of the Lesser Antilles in June, especially strong ones, with only a handful of tropical systems having done so. According to records from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Not only was the storm early in the season, it is now the third-oldest major hurricane in the Atlantic. The first was Hurricane Alma on June 8, 1966, followed by Hurricane Audrey, which reached major hurricane status on June 27, 1957.

Hurricane Beryl also set the record for the easternmost hurricane to form in the tropical Atlantic in June, beating the previous record set in 1933.

The central and eastern Atlantic typically become more active in August, in part because ocean temperatures have time to warm and feed developing systems.

But this year the Atlantic basin has seen above-normal water temperatures and a lack of wind shear due to the transition from El Niño to La Niña, both of which fuel tropical development.

“Beryl found an environment with very warm ocean waters for this time of year,” Brennan said.

Watch this interactive content on CNN.com

These systems forming early in the summer in this part of the Atlantic are a sign of an active hurricane season ahead, according to Search from Normally, ocean temperatures are not warm enough in June and July to help tropical systems thrive.

National Weather Service Meteorologists expect This season is expected to see between 17 and 25 named storms, 13 of which will become hurricanes.

“This is well above average,” Brennan noted.

CNN’s Zoe Sottile, Monica Jarrett, Jane Norman, Michael Rios, Marlon Sorto, Sandy Sidhu, Melissa Alonso, Isaac Yee, Eric Zirkle, Rachel Ramirez and Brandon Miller contributed to this report.

Rainerio Manuel
Rainerio Manuel

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