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Hurricane Beryl makes landfall in Mexico

July 5, 2024

Beryl has hit Mexico's Caribbean coast after beginning to lose some of its power. It has been reclassified as a Category 2 storm, but it could pick up strength again.

 A tree uprooted by Hurricane Beryl lays on a street in Tulum, Mexico, Friday, July 5, 2024
Hurricane Beryl left a trail of destruction across the Caribbean before making landfall in MexicoImage: Fernando Llano/AP Photo/picture alliance

Hurricane Beryl has made landfall in Mexico, as the storm's core shifted over the Yucatan, with winds falling to 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers per hour), US forecasters said.

The storm had previously reached Categories 4 and 5 and left a devastating trail of destruction in the Caribbean.

Beryl has now been classified down to a Category 2 storm, the National Hurricane Center reported.

Recent weather reports expect the storm to weaken further as it churns northwest across the Yucatan Peninsula.

From there, the storm is projected to pick up strength again as it emerges over the Gulf of Mexico. Beryl is then set to hit the eastern state of Tamaulipas on the Texas border.

Mexico on 'red alert'

Mexican authorities issued a "red alert" on Thursday evening in the nation's top tourist destinations in anticipation of the deadly Hurricane Beryl. The "red alert" signifies a threat of maximum hazard from the storm.

The storm, which had weakened somewhat on Wednesday from its initial Category 5 strength, gathered speed and wind over the Gulf of Mexico as it approached the Mexican coast.

Beryl is the 2024 Atlantic season's first hurricane which, at its peak, was the earliest Category 5 storm on record. This may only be the start given the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted an "extraordinary" storm season this year.

Hurricane Beryl charges toward Mexico, Texas

Mexican authorities asked people to stay in their homes or go to storm shelters as Beryl neared popular tourist spots like Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Tulum and Puerto Morelos. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged people to take heed for their own safety.

"No hesitating. Material things can be recovered. The most important thing is life," the president wrote on social media platform X.

He also informed that it may be a direct hit on Tulum, a sleepy resort town that has boomed in recent years to about 50,000 permanent inhabitants and at least as many tourists on a given day. 

'Everybody is homeless' — St. Vincent and the Grenadines PM

In Jamaica, winds tore apart buildings, uprooted trees and took out power grids.

"We're happy to be alive, happy that the damage was not more extensive," said Joseph Patterson, a beekeeper in the southwestern Jamaican town of Bogue. He described felled power lines, roads blocked with debris and "tremendous damage" to farms.

Before that, Beryl wrecked St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada.

Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said in a radio interview that the country's Union Island was "flattened" by Beryl. "Everybody is homeless ... It is going to be a Herculean effort to rebuild."

The situation is "Armageddon-like," Grenada's Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said in a video briefing on Tuesday. "There is no power. There is almost complete destruction of homes and buildings," he had said, citing impassable roads due to downed power lines and destroyed fuel stations crimping supplies.

So far at least eight people have died and several are missing due to the storm. 

Biden: US ready to help areas hit by Hurricane Beryl

sp,mk/kb,ab (Reuters, AP, DPA)