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Hurricane Beryl passes over Cayman Islands, leaving a trail of destruction before heading toward Mexico

Hurricane Beryl passes over Cayman Islands, leaving a trail of destruction before heading toward Mexico

Hurricane Beryl hit the Cayman Islands on Thursday and headed toward some of Mexico’s top tourist spots after crossing Jamaica with winds that uprooted trees and destroyed buildings.

In recent days, Beryl, currently classified as a Category 2, has left a deadly trail of destruction in its wake across several smaller Caribbean islands.

At least ten people have died so far in the storm, and the number could rise, especially in the eastern Caribbean, where communications have been restored on islands devastated by flooding and strong winds.

“We’re happy to be alive, happy that the damage wasn’t that extensive,” said Joseph Patterson, a beekeeper who is active in local politics and lives in the Jamaican town of Bogue. He said power lines were down, roads were blocked and there was “tremendous damage” to local farms.

At least 1,000 people were sheltering in shelters Wednesday night, said Richard Thompson, acting head of the national disaster agency. So far, he said, only one death has been attributed to the hurricane.

More than half of the customers of the country’s main electric company were without service on Thursday afternoon.

Beryl’s center skirted Jamaica’s southern coast, hitting communities as a powerful Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson storm scale, which reaches a Category 5, before losing some strength.

Winds are expected to decrease further over the next two days, but will still have the strength to be classified as a hurricane as they approach Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Beryl crossed the Cayman Islands on Thursday afternoon. The hurricane was located about 217 kilometers west of Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands that make up the British territory, according to the latest warning from the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane is on track to make landfall Thursday night or Friday morning in the popular coastal resort of Tulum, Mexico.

Beryl’s sustained winds have slowed to 110 mph (177 km/h), but are dumping 4 to 6 inches of rain on the Cayman Islands, according to the U.S. Hurricane Center. A similar amount is expected for the Yucatan.

Cancun, Mexico’s largest tourist destination, is located a short distance from Tulum, both regions being in the storm’s predicted path.

This Thursday, Cancun International Airport was packed with tourists trying to catch the last flights before the hurricane hit the city. According to a publication in X by the state governor, about a hundred flights were canceled.

Beryl is the first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season. At its peak this week, it became the first storm in history to reach Category 5 strength in a season.

Source: Terra

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