Hurricane Beryl from Jamaica Intensifies as It Strikes Yucatán, Mexico


Hurricane Beryl from Jamaica Intensifies as It Strikes Yucatán, Mexico

Hurricane Beryl, which re-strengthened to a Category 3 storm after weakening on Thursday morning, is now moving toward Mexico, leaving destruction across the Caribbean.

The storm, initially the earliest recorded Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic, weakened to Category 2 on Thursday morning but re-intensified over the Caribbean Sea with wind speeds up to 115 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Authorities in Mexico, anticipating "dangerous" storm surges, damaging waves, and hurricane-force winds, have taken extensive precautions. Over 13,000 workers and armed forces, along with rescue dogs, mobile kitchens, and water treatment plants, have been deployed in Quintana Roo, a state facing the Caribbean and likely to first feel the storm's impact.

After passing Jamaica, residents emerged to witness extensive damage to farmland, homes, and infrastructure. “The whole place has become one,” said Steve Taylor of Mitchell Town to a local TV station. The agricultural region of Elizabeth, known as the country's breadbasket, was particularly hard hit.

Despite the severe impact, Jamaican officials noted that the damage was less than anticipated. "The damage is not as we anticipated, so we are very thankful for that," said Prime Minister Andrew Holness. The storm's death toll in the Caribbean remains relatively low since it first struck Grenada on Monday.

Hurricane Beryl is expected to hit Mexico twice, first reaching the Yucatán Peninsula on Friday and then the northern state of Tamaulipas after crossing the Gulf of Mexico. Evacuations are underway in Tulum and Felipe Carrillo Puerto, areas predicted to face severe impact. In Cancún, a popular holiday destination, cruise ships are being sheltered in inland waterways.

Tourists like Anders Aasen, who arrived in Cancún on Thursday from Norway, were caught off guard by the storm's imminent arrival. “At the hotel, they haven’t given us any information about what is going to happen or what we should do,” said Aasen, who planned to travel to Cancún and Tulum with his family.

Hurricane Beryl

Shell Oil is evacuating non-essential workers from its floating oil platform, Perdido, located about 200 miles south of Galveston, Texas. The company reported no significant impact on production from the storm.

Hurricane Beryl's rapid intensification is attributed to above-average sea surface temperatures, indicating a challenging hurricane season ahead. Residents of the Cayman Islands were relieved as the storm passed without significant damage, injuries, or fatalities.

In Jamaica, efforts are underway to restore power and water supplies in the worst-affected areas, including eastern and southern Kingston, Portland, and other neighborhoods. More than 60 percent of customers were without utilities on Thursday morning. Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay was set to reopen Thursday night, while Norman Manley Airport remained closed for repairs until Friday.

Reconstruction in the hardest-hit islands, particularly Grenada, poses a significant challenge. Satellite imagery shows extensive damage in Carriacou and Petite Martinique, with about 98 percent of buildings destroyed. Cleanup operations have begun as the airport and several hotels in Grenada reopen, according to the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association.