Hurricane Beryl kills 11 across the Caribbean, makes landfall in Mexico | Climate Crisis News

The storm battered popular tourist destinations, caused power outages and prompted authorities to sound the alarm, before being downgraded to a Category 2 storm.

Hurricane Beryl weakened to a Category 2 storm as it battered Mexico’s east coast, causing widespread power outages and putting authorities on high alert.

Friday’s landfall on the tourist-popular Yucatan Peninsula came after Hurricane Beryl carved a path of destruction across the Caribbean, hitting Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and northern Venezuela and leaving at least 11 people dead.

The first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season also made history, reaching Category 5 status on its way across the Atlantic. It was the earliest storm of that strength recorded during the season, a phenomenon believed to be partly caused by human-induced climate change.

Climate scientists have repeatedly warned that hurricane seasons will become longer and more intense as global temperatures continue to rise.

Beryl’s winds slowed to 160 kph (100 mph) by the time it reached the northeastern region of Tulum on Friday, but it was still strong enough for Mexico’s civil defense agency to issue a red alert, the highest level of danger, and advised residents to stay in their homes or seek shelter in evacuation centers.

No deaths have been reported so far in Mexico, NDMT’s Lucia Newman reported from Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

The storm was expected to move through the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall in the US state of Texas.

“The winds were blowing really hard. Branches were falling. A lot of areas were without power, no phone service,” Newman said.

A car drives past a tree downed by heavy winds and rains from Hurricane Beryl in Tulum, Mexico. [Raquel Cunha/Reuters]

“The hurricane is currently heading toward the Gulf of Mexico and will weaken or slow as it passes through Mexico, dumping water that could cause storm surges and landslides,” she added.

“But the problem is that once it finally reaches the Gulf of Mexico, the warmer waters there could cause it to strengthen again. Meteorologists say Hurricane Beryl will hang on for at least a few more days.”

In Quintana Roo state, home to the main tourist destination of Cancun, Governor Mara Lezama posted a video showing strong winds and heavy rain, and urged residents to take all necessary precautions as the storm was expected to affect the entire state.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador echoed that advice, urging people in the storm’s path to seek refuge at higher altitudes or in safer locations.

“What matters most is life,” he wrote on social media.

Around 100 domestic and international flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday were cancelled at Cancun’s airport.

The Mexican military said it had about 8,000 soldiers in Tulum and had food supplies and 34,000 liters (9,000 gallons) of purified water for distribution to residents.

The storm caused widespread damage across the Caribbean, with 60 percent of Jamaica still without power by early Friday morning.

Jamaica
A man gestures next to a destroyed house after Hurricane Beryl passed through Clarendon, Jamaica. [Gilbert Bellamy/Reuters]

Officials said three deaths were reported in Grenada, three in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, three in Venezuela and two in Jamaica.

Although it is extremely rare for such a powerful storm to form at this time of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from early June to late November, ocean temperatures were warmer than normal.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic remain 1 to 3 degrees Celsius (1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal, creating the conditions necessary for the development of intense hurricanes.

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