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Caribbean Devastation: Mexico Braces for Hurricane Beryl

Caribbean Devastation: Mexico Braces for Hurricane Beryl

With sustained winds of up to 215 km/h, Beryl has now weakened somewhat, but remains the second-strongest Category 4 hurricane. Precautions are underway in Yucatan holiday resorts such as Cancun and Tulum, where authorities say more than 380,000 tourists are currently staying. About 100 flights have been canceled and Tulum's international airport has been closed.

Nature and animals also need protection: Authorities have brought more than 10,000 turtle eggs to safety from their nests on Cancun’s Playa Delfines beach. People have stocked up on water and food in supermarkets, according to media reports. Windows have been boarded up. Emergency shelters are available, said Laura Velasquez, national civil defense coordinator. Ports have been closed, including to cruise ships.

Reuters/Paola Chiomanti

Empty shelves in a supermarket in Cancun

Hurricane earlier than ever

According to forecasts, Beryl will then move across the peninsula and out to sea in the Gulf of Mexico. As of Monday night, it is expected to make landfall again between the eastern states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz as a tropical storm, but it cannot be ruled out that it will then remain a weaker Category 1 hurricane. According to the National Civil Defense, about 6,300 soldiers and police officers are on hand to support the population.

Hurricane Beryl chart

Graphics: APA/ORF; Source: NOAA

Such a powerful storm has never been recorded so early in the six-month Atlantic hurricane season, and according to expert Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University, Beryl is the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded in July.

Many damages in the Caribbean islands

Beryl has already left a trail of destruction across the Caribbean. At least one person has died in Jamaica. In the northwest of the island, a woman died after a tree fell on her home, a disaster agency spokeswoman told CNN on Thursday. In all, the hurricane has killed at least eight people in the Caribbean so far, according to local media.

Sea turtle clutches are brought to safety.

Reuters/Paola Chiomanti

Groups of sea turtles in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula have been brought to safety.

After making a devastating path over several smaller islands, Beryl made landfall in Jamaica on Wednesday as the second-strongest Category 4 hurricane with winds of up to 130 mph (215 kph). The center of the storm was slamming into the southern coast of the country, home to about 3 million people, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Hotel windows in Playa del Carmen are locked

Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Windows of a hotel in Playa del Carmen are ready for the hurricane.

Hundreds of thousands of families without electricity

On Thursday night, Beryl moved further out to sea and weakened to a Category 3 storm. The hurricane warning for Jamaica was then lifted. However, there is still a risk of heavy rain and flash flooding, according to the weather service.

In Jamaica, some roads have been rendered impassable due to fallen trees or flooding, disaster management agency ODPEM said. In addition, about 400,000 households are without power, according to local media. Images posted on social media showed fallen power poles and roofs covered.

Devastation after Hurricane Beryl in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Reuters/Ralph Gonsalves via Facebook

Destruction in St. Vincent

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that nearly 500 people were being housed in emergency accommodation. He had earlier declared a temporary nationwide curfew. Not everyone complied – the Jamaica Observer reported that some residents of the capital, Kingston, were dancing in the pouring rain. Holness announced that police and military forces would be deployed after the hurricane to help with the storm’s aftermath and maintain order.

Grenada: Video shows damage after Beryl

Hurricane Beryl left a trail of destruction across the southeastern Caribbean. With winds of up to 260 km/h, it made landfall on the island of Carriacou, Grenada. Drone footage shows the extent of the damage the tropical storm left behind there.

Prime Minister: Implications of the climate crisis

The center of the storm made landfall Monday over Grenada's Carriacou island. According to the government, 98 percent of buildings there and on the nearby island of Petite Martinique were damaged or destroyed. Grenada's Prime Minister Deacon Mitchell spoke of Armageddon-like devastation.

Union Island, part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, was similarly hit. Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center measured winds at around 270 kilometers per hour, and from 252 onwards, it reached Category 5. With climate change, warmer ocean waters are increasing the likelihood of strong hurricanes.

Devastated coast near Kingston, Jamaica

Reuters/Marco Bello

Devastated coast near Kingston, Jamaica

Mitchell described the hurricane as a direct result of the climate crisis. He stressed that Grenada no longer wanted to accept that small island developing states would have to bear the consequences of climate change and incur debts for reconstruction, while the countries primarily responsible did nothing. The European Union pledged a total of €450,000 in humanitarian aid to Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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