Category 5 Hurricane Beryl Heads for Jamaica After Devastating the Caribbean

Category 5 Hurricane Beryl Heads for Jamaica After Devastating the Caribbean

Hurricane Beryl, a Category 5 storm, approaches Jamaica after causing widespread destruction in the Caribbean, leaving two dead and thousands impacted.

Bollywood Fever: Hurricane Beryl barreled westward toward Jamaica as a Category 5 storm early Tuesday, following its destructive path across the southeast Caribbean that resulted in at least two fatalities, officials reported.

Late Monday, Beryl intensified into a Category 5 storm, with maximum sustained winds of at least 157 miles per hour, according to the United States National Hurricane Center. Forecasts predict hurricane conditions will impact Jamaica by Wednesday.

Category 5 storms, the highest classification for Atlantic hurricanes, have maximum sustained winds exceeding 157 mph. By Tuesday morning, Beryl’s winds reached 165 mph, setting a record as the earliest Category 5 storm in Atlantic history, noted Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University.

Beryl ravaged several Caribbean islands on Monday, causing two reported deaths in Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The storm struck Carriacou, a small island north of Grenada, on Monday morning, devastating it within half an hour, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell of Grenada stated during a social media briefing. Extreme damage was also anticipated on the neighboring island of Petite Martinique.

Category 5 Hurricane Beryl Heads for Jamaica After Devastating the Caribbean

In Grenada’s capital, St. George’s, one person died when a tree fell on a house. “This hits home,” Mr. Mitchell said, noting that the deceased was related to someone working at the National Emergency Operating Center.

Further north, islands in St. Vincent and the Grenadines suffered significant damage, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves reported. One death occurred, and numerous homes, schools, and churches were heavily damaged. On Union Island, an estimated 90% of houses were either damaged or destroyed, with similar destruction expected on Mayreau and Canouan.

As the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, Beryl left widespread devastation: trees snapped, storm surges, and roofs torn off by winds exceeding 150 mph. In Grenada, the full extent of the damage on Carriacou and Petite Martinique would not be known until Tuesday morning, according to Prime Minister Mitchell, who planned to visit as soon as it was safe. Both islands were without power, and communication was challenging.

Initial damage reports from Grenada’s main island included a police station losing its roof and a hospital having to evacuate patients due to roof damage.

Beryl’s development into a Category 4 storm on Sunday marked it as the third major Atlantic hurricane in June and the first to reach such strength so early in the season. The storm’s rapid escalation from a tropical depression to a major hurricane in just 42 hours was driven by unusually warm sea surface temperatures, a rare occurrence in Atlantic hurricane history.

Barbados officials reported that the island had largely escaped Beryl’s worst effects. Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced that up to 20 fishing boats, including two cruisers, might have sunk, but added, “This could have been far worse for us.” Around 40 homes were initially reported with roof or structural damage, though the number was expected to rise as more residents returned from shelters.

Residents across the eastern Caribbean had begun storm preparations over the weekend. Fleur Mathurin of St. Lucia, which experienced power outages, emphasized the gravity of such storms, recalling her family’s experiences with past hurricanes. “Having my family, my grandmothers, great-grands, gone through Hurricane Allen and Gilbert, this is something that they always preach to us,” she said.

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