Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (2024)

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By Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

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Updated 4:30 PM EDT, Wed July 3, 2024

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Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (1)

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Hurricane Beryl makes landfall

02:16 - Source: CNN

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Hurricane Beryl, now a potentially catastrophic Category 5 storm, has set its sights on Jamaica after leaving at least one person dead and inflicting ruin across entire islands in the Caribbean on Monday.

The storm is expected to bring life-threatening winds and storm surge to Jamaica on Wednesday and impact the Cayman Islands on Thursday, where a hurricane watch has been issued.

The storm continues to smash records as it kicks off an exceptionally early hurricane season as the earliest Category 5 hurricane – and only the second Atlantic storm of such strength to be recorded in July. Beryl alarming strengthening has been fed byabnormally warm ocean waters driven by planet-warming fossil fuel pollution.

It took onlyminutes for Beryl to tear through Grenada on Monday, blasting through buildings and knocking out power and phone service to almost all of the island’s residents, the governor’s office said.

“In half an hour, Carriacou was flattened,” Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said Monday.

Hurricane Beryl made landfall near Matagorda, Texas, on Monday, packing damaging winds and extreme rainfall.

The Category 1 hurricane, with sustained winds of 80 mph, was the first storm of the Atlantic hurricane season to make landfall in the United States. It was also the earliest hurricane landfall in Texas in nearly 40 years.

Last week, Beryl hammered several Caribbean islands and became the earliest Category 5 hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic. A Category 5 — the highest on the Saffir-Simpson scale — has sustained winds of 157 mph or greater.

The storm weakened before reaching Mexico, but it was still the strongest hurricane to impact Jamaica in more than 15 years.Track Beryl’s path.

Beryl was only the second Category 5 to ever be recorded in the Atlantic in the month of July. Its alarming strength was fed byabnormally warm ocean waters driven by planet-warming fossil fuel pollution.

“Hurricanes don’t know what month it is. They only know what their ambient environment is,” Jim Kossin, a hurricane expert and science advisor at nonprofit First Street Foundation, told CNN.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (2)

Houston residents assess a fallen tree in their neighborhood after Hurricane Beryl swept through the area on Monday, July 8.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (4)

Blake Braun loads his dog Dolly into his family's vehicle as Beryl's outer bands from Beryl begin to hit Port O'Connor, Texas, on Sunday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (5)

A worker boards up windows at an ice cream parlor in Port Aransas, Texas, on Saturday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (6)

Soldiers collect branches felled by Hurricane Beryl in Tulum, Mexico, on Friday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (7)

Everton Evanks walks through his living room on Thursday after the roof of the home was blown off by Beryl's winds in St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (8)

People sit on cots Thursday at the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica. The arena was serving as a shelter in the aftermath of Beryl.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (9)

A boat damaged by Hurricane Beryl lies on its side at a dock in Kingston on Thursday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (10)

Simone Francis gathers items from her home that were blown away by Hurricane Beryl in Old Harbor, Jamaica, on Thursday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (11)

In preparation for Beryl, yachts are anchored in the Nichupté Lagoon in Cancun, Mexico, on Thursday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (12)

A man walks past a fallen tree in Kingston, Jamaica, on Thursday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (13)

A car is driven near storm damage in Kingston on Wednesday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (14)

Workers install wood panels to cover glass doors at a hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Wednesday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (15)

Evacuees from Union Island arrive Tuesday in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (16)

Homes are damaged on the island of Petite Martinique on Tuesday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (17)

People walk near damaged vehicles in Cumanacoa, Venezuela on Tuesday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (18)

Waves from Hurricane Beryl hit the seawall in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Tuesday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (19)

Pastor Winston Alleyne clears trees felled by Hurricane Beryl in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (20)

Fishing boats, damaged by Hurricane Beryl, sit in a heap at the Bridgetown Fisheries in Barbados on July 1.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (21)

Sylvia Small waits to enter the Bridgetown Fisheries pier so she could check her boat's damage in Barbados on July 1.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (22)

NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick shared this photo of the hurricane as seen from space on July 1. Looking at the hurricane with the camera gave him "both an eerie feeling and a high level of weather nerd excitement," he said in a post on X.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (23)

Members of Barbados' armed forces clear a street of sand in Oistins, Barbados.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (24)

A man clears water from a damaged restaurant in Hastings, Barbados.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (25)

Brad Reinhart, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, tracks Hurricane Beryl on July 1.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (26)

People in Kingston, Jamaica, wait in line with groceries as Beryl approaches.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (27)

A man boards up a shop window in Bridgetown, Barbados, on June 30.

A path of “immense destruction, pain (and) suffering” was torn through the neighboring nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where at least one person has been reported dead, said Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. Parts of the islands, including hospitals, have no electricity and others are without water.

About 90% of the homes on the nation’s Union Island are damaged or destroyed, Gonsalves said. Hundreds more homes and several schools, churches and government buildings in St. Vincent also sustained severe damage.

“Tomorrow we get up with our commitment and conviction to rebuild our lives and our families’ lives,” Gonsalves said Monday night.

Though Beryl is likely to fluctuate in strength in the coming days, it is expected to remain an “extremely dangerous major hurricane” – Category 3 or stronger – through mid-week, the hurricane center said.

The hurricane will continue packing strong winds, torrential rain and hazardous seas extending well beyond its center over much of the Caribbean. Even if Beryl doesn’t make landfall in Jamaica, its outer bands will bring significant impacts.

Satellite imagery shows Hurricane Beryl make landfall on Carriacou Island Monday morning.

The latest on Beryl

• Jamaica braces for severe impacts: A hurricane warning is in place for Jamaica, where hurricane conditions will impact the island on Wednesday. Tropical storm-force winds are expected earlier in the day on Wednesday. Storm surge could raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet above normal tide levels and rainfall of 4 to 8 inches with isolated totals up to 12 inches is forecast.

• Dominican Republic and Haiti under storm warnings: The southern coasts of Haiti and Dominican Republic remain under tropical storm warnings, with tropical storm conditions beginning Tuesday. Storm surge up to 3 feet is possible, and rainfall totals could reach 6 inches.

• Extended state of emergency in Grenada: The order has been extended until July 7 due to the severe damage wrought by the storm, said Neila K. Ettienne, spokesperson for the prime minister’s office. About 95% of the island of Grenada has lost power, she said. Telecommunications are also down and some individuals have lost internet service.

• St. Vincent and Grenadines rush to restore power: Local authorities are “working feverishly, urgently and with great focus to get electricity in certain places tonight,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said Monday. Many trees have collapsed on power lines. Even so, government buildings will reopen Tuesday and the prime minister urged business owners to open, if possible.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (28)

Damaged fishing boats rest on the shore after the passing of Hurricane Beryl at the Bridgetown Fish Market, Bridgetown, Barbados on July 1.

Huge blow to Barbados fishing industry: Though Barbados was spared from the brunt of the storm, large storm surge damaged numerous fishing vessels – a massive loss to the nation’s fishing industry. At least 20 vessels have sunken, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said Monday. Some fishermen at the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex watched helplessly as violent waves slammed boats into each other or pulled them underwater, CNN affiliate CBC reports. “There’s nothing more we can do than stand and watch total destruction – our livelihood gone down the drain,” one resident told CBC.

Cricket team and fans stranded: Some cricket fans who had traveled to Barbados for the T20 World Cup – and even the winning Indian team itself – have been unable to leave the island as Hurricane Beryl forced the Grantley Adams International Airport to suspend operations. But the Indian team is likely to make its way home Tuesday after the airport’s planned reopening, Mottley said.

Kicking off a far from normal hurricane season

Beryl has shattered numerous records and is a troubling indicator that this season will be far from normal in a world warming due to fossil fuel pollution. On Sunday it became the earliestmajor hurricane – defined as one that is Category 3 or higher – in the Atlantic in 58 years and the only one to reach Category 4 status in the month of June.

It is also the strongest known hurricane to pass through the southern Windward Islands, which lie at the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea, according to data from NOAA that goes back to 1851.

The hurricane was able to churn to life because the ocean is as warm now as it would normally be at the peak of hurricane season, said Jim Kossin, a hurricane expert and science advisor at nonprofit First Street Foundation.

“Hurricanes don’t know what month it is, they only know what their ambient environment is,” Kossin told CNN. “Beryl is breaking records for the month of June because Beryl thinks it’s September.”

The ocean warm ocean temperatures fueling Beryl’s unprecedented strengthening “certainly have a human fingerprint on them,” Kossin said.

CNN’s Monica Garrett, Abel Alvarado, Brandon Miller, Sahar Akbarzai, Mary Gilbert, Hira Humayun, Robert Shackelford, Isaac Yee, Duarte Mendonca and Manveena Suricontributed to this report.

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Hurricane Beryl charges toward Jamaica as record-breaking Category 5 after leaving Caribbean islands in ruins | CNN (2024)

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