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Mexico prepares for Hurricane Beryl

Mexico prepares for Hurricane Beryl

After its devastating path over several small islands in the Caribbean, Hurricane Beryl has made landfall in Jamaica. The center of the storm hit the southern coast of the country yesterday, home to about three million people, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Reuters/Marco Bello

Beryl continues to move west-northwest. According to the NHC forecast, the center of the storm will pass just south of the Cayman Islands overnight (local time) and make landfall again over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula overnight.

With sustained winds of up to 215 km/h, Beryl has now weakened somewhat, but remains the second-strongest Category 4 hurricane.

Hurricane Beryl chart

Graphics: APA/ORF; Source: NOAA

Close the ports

Precautionary measures are underway in holiday resorts in the Yucatan state, such as Cancun and Tulum, where, according to authorities, more than 380,000 tourists are currently staying – and authorities have brought more than 10,000 turtle eggs to safety from their nests on Cancun's Playa Delfines beach.

According to media reports, people are stocking up on water and food in supermarkets. Windows are boarded up. Emergency shelters are available, said Laura Velasquez, national civil defense coordinator. Ports are closed, including cruise ships.

Men filling sandbags in Cancun

Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez

500 people in Jamaica in emergency accommodation

There was no immediate information on damage or possible casualties in Jamaica. Some roads were impassable due to fallen trees or flooding, according to the disaster management agency ODPEM. Prime Minister Andrew Holness said nearly 500 people were being housed in emergency accommodation.

Beryl, the first hurricane of the Atlantic season that began in early June, developed from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in less than 24 hours over the weekend.

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.

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