Hurricane Beryl makes landfall as a life-threatening Category 4 storm



CNN

Hurricane Beryl is hitting the Windward Islands as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane, bringing violent winds, heavy rains and life-threatening storm surges after making landfall on Monday.

Hurricane Beryl made landfall just after 11:00 a.m. EDT on Grenada’s Carriacou Island in the Caribbean Sea with sustained winds reaching maximum speeds of 150 mph. It is the strongest known hurricane to pass through the Grenadines, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data dating back to 1851.

The storm caused power outages, flooded streets and heavy rain in parts of the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados and Tobago on Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Beryl’s arrival marks an exceptionally early start to the Atlantic hurricane season. On Sunday, it became the first Category 4 hurricane ever in the Atlantic and the only Category 4 hurricane in the month of June. Abnormally warm ocean water The events that led to Beryl’s alarming strengthening are a clear indication that this hurricane season will be far from normal in light of global warming caused by fossil fuel pollution.

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Beryl is breaking records for June because the ocean is now as warm as it usually is at the height of hurricane season, said Jim Kossin, a hurricane expert and science adviser to the nonprofit First Street Foundation.

“Hurricanes don’t know what month it is, they just know their environment,” Kossin told CNN. “Beryl is breaking June records because she thinks it’s September.”

The ocean heat that powers Brill’s unprecedented power “definitely has a human imprint on it,” Kossin added.

Beryl is a dangerous hurricane: The storm is located near Carriacou Island, part of Grenada, and has sustained winds of 150 mph and is moving west-northwest at 20 mph. Beryl’s hurricane-force winds extend 40 miles from the center while tropical storm force winds extend about 125 miles.

Life-threatening storms and floods: National Hurricane Center to caution “A life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels 6 to 9 feet above normal tide levels” when Beryl makes landfall. Towering waves could also cause life-threatening tidal waves that threaten small vessels and fishermen long after it makes landfall. Flash flooding is also a concern in parts of the Windward Islands and Barbados. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley warned citizens to be “extremely vigilant.”

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• Hurricane warnings: Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Tobacco. There is a hurricane warning in effect for Jamaica. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Martinique, Trinidad and Saint Lucia. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Punta Palenque west to the border with Haiti, and the southern coast of Haiti from the border with the Dominican Republic to Anse de Hainaut.

Hundreds evacuated: Ramona Archer Bradshaw, the country’s chief shelter warden, told CNN affiliate CBC News that more than 400 people were sheltering in hurricane shelters across Barbados on Sunday evening. “I’m glad people are using the shelters, and if they’re not comfortable in their homes, they’re better off going to a shelter,” she said.

Ricardo Mazalan / AFP

Hurricane Beryl flooded a street in Hastings, Barbados, on Monday.

Ricardo Mazalan/AFP

Waves hit palm trees as Hurricane Beryl made landfall in Hastings, Barbados, on Monday.

State of emergency in Grenada: Grenada’s Governor General, Cecil La Grenade, declared a state of emergency, which will remain in effect from Sunday night until Tuesday morning. All businesses except police forces, hospitals, prisons, waste disposal facilities and ports must close.

Airports closed: Airports in Barbados, Grenada and Saint Lucia were closed on Sunday evening as the hurricane approached. An airport spokesman said Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport was expected to reopen on Tuesday morning. Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados, Hewanorra International Airport and George Charles Airport in Saint Lucia have also suspended operations.

Cricket World Cup fans stuck: Barbados is still hosting cricket fans from around the world who have travelled to the island for the T20 World Cup, some of whom will not be able to evacuate before Beryl arrives. “Our visitors are here with us,” said Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. “Some of them won’t be leaving until Monday and Tuesday, some of them have never been through a hurricane or a storm.” She appealed to residents to support the visitors if they can.

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Landfall is far from the end of Beryl’s story, and its long-term path remains uncertain.

The hurricane is expected to move generally west or northwest over the Caribbean Sea through Thursday, and is expected to remain a major hurricane — Category 3 or stronger — through the middle of the week before losing some of its strength.

However, the hurricane will remain massive, with strong winds, heavy rain and dangerous waves extending far beyond its center across much of the Caribbean. Beryl’s center could pass just south of Jamaica on Wednesday and cause more serious impacts to the country even if it doesn’t make landfall there.

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Each line represents a different model for predicting Beryl’s path over the weekend. The space between the lines shows the uncertainty in Beryl’s path – the larger the space, the more uncertainty. Its path becomes even more uncertain after it makes landfall in the Yucatan.

Several days will likely elapse between Beryl’s first landfall in the Windward Islands on Monday and its next possible landfall in or around Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula around Friday morning.

What happens after Beryl’s next landfall will also determine whether the hurricane is able to reach the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. If Beryl manages to survive its trip above land and reach the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico bathtub, it could spell trouble for northeastern Mexico or perhaps the U.S. Gulf Coast.

This season is already off to a busy start as the second storm — Tropical Storm Chris — made landfall near Tuxpan, Mexico, off the Gulf Coast early Monday.

Hurricane Beryl is a worrying start to a hurricane season that meteorologists have warned will be hyperactive — and Beryl’s record-breaking activity may be a sign of what’s to come.

Beryl is the oldest major hurricane — defined as a Category 3 or higher — in the Atlantic Ocean in 58 years. The storm’s rapid intensification is extremely unusual this early in the hurricane season, according to National Hurricane Center Director Mike Brennan. It’s rare for tropical systems to form in the central Atlantic east of the Lesser Antilles in June, especially strong ones, with only a handful of tropical systems having done so. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration records.

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Not only was the storm early for the season, it is now the third-oldest major hurricane in the Atlantic. The first hurricane was Hurricane Alma on June 8, 1966, followed by Hurricane Audrey, which reached major hurricane status on June 27, 1957.

Beryl also set the record for the easternmost hurricane forming in the tropical Atlantic in June, surpassing the previous record set in 1933.

The central and eastern Atlantic typically becomes more active in August, in part because ocean temperatures have enough time to warm and feed developing systems.

However, this year the Atlantic basin has seen higher than normal water temperatures and less wind shear due to the transition from an El Niño to a La Niña season, both of which fuel tropical development.

“Beryl found an environment with very warm ocean waters for this time of year,” Brennan said.

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Systems forming early in the summer in this part of the Atlantic are a sign of an overactive hurricane season ahead, according to Search from Normally, ocean temperatures are not warm enough in June and July to help tropical systems thrive.

National Weather Service Predictors predict Of the 17 to 25 named storms this season, as many as 13 of them will become hurricanes.

“This is well above average,” Brennan noted.

CNN’s Monica Garrett, Jane Norman, Michael Rios, Marlon Sorto, Sandy Sidhu, Melissa Alonso, Isaac Yee, Eric Zirkle, Rachel Ramirez and Brandon Miller contributed to this report.

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