Hurricane Beryl downgraded to a Category 4 storm

Even as Hurricane Beryl was downgraded to a Category 4 storm as it passed south of the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, it remained a powerful and life-threatening hurricane and remains heading toward Jamaica.

In its 2 p.m. update, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Beryl was located about 175 miles southeast of Isla Beata, Dominican Republic, and 485 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. It has maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and is moving west-northwest at 22 mph.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Jamaica and a hurricane watch was in place for Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the south coast of Haiti from the border with the Dominican Republic to Anse d’Hainault.

NHC forecasters said that, on its current track, the centre of Beryl will move quickly across the central Caribbean Sea on Tuesday and is expected to pass near Jamaica on Wednesday and the Cayman Islands on Thursday.

Forecasters said the centre probably will approach the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico on Thursday night.

In the 2 p.m. update, reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicated that maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph with higher gusts.

Weakening is forecast for the storm for later today, officials said, but warned that Beryl is still expected to be near major hurricane intensity as it moves into the central Caribbean and passes near Jamaica on Wednesday and the Cayman Islands on Thursday.

The latest minimum central pressure estimated from the Hurricane Hunter aircraft data is 943 mb (27.85 inches).

On the forecast track, the centre of Beryl will move quickly across the open waters in the southeastern and central Caribbean Sea on Tuesday and is forecast to pass near Jamaica on Wednesday.

The United States is not expected to be affected by the storm.

Beryl made landfall on Grenada’s Carriacou Island in the Caribbean Sea with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph around 11 a.m. It is the strongest known hurricane to pass through the Grenadines, according to data from NOAA since 1851.

There were “widespread reports of destruction and devastation in Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said in a Monday news briefing. “In half an hour, Carriacou was flattened.”

About 95 per cent of the island of Grenada has lost power due to Hurricane Beryl, Neila K. Ettienne, press secretary for the office of the prime minister, told CNN on Monday. Telecommunications across Grenada are down, and some individuals have lost internet service, Ettienne explained.

The government had difficulty posting updates on Facebook.

On Sunday, Beryl became the earliest Category 4 hurricane on record in the Atlantic and the only Category 4 storm ever recorded in June.

It then later became the earliest Category 5 storm in history before being downgraded to a Category 4 storm on Tuesday.

Only seven named storms have formed over the last 173 years in this sector of the Atlantic before July 4, according to Accuweather.

Alberto, the first tropical storm of the season, made landfall over Mexico on June 20 and then pummeled Texas the next day with rain. (UPI)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like