Top NewsHurricane Beryl: Caribbean braces as deadly storm grows

Hurricane Beryl: Caribbean braces as deadly storm grows

image source, Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

image caption, Cars line up at petrol stations before Hurricane Beryl makes landfall in Bridgetown, Barbados

  • author, Ana Fagui
  • stock, BBC News, Washington

Caribbean islands are warning people to make emergency preparations with a powerful and dangerous hurricane expected to strengthen as it moves towards them.

Cyclone Beryl, the first named typhoon of the season, is expected to make landfall on several islands late Sunday.

Forecasters expect the hurricane to be “extremely dangerous” and develop into a category four storm – meaning winds of 155mph (250km/h) and storm surges of six to ten feet (1.8-3 metres).

The super storm is expected to strengthen as it approaches the Caribbean islands of Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and Martinique.

“In this part of the Atlantic, it’s rare to see a storm intensifying at this speed this early in the season. Many islands in the Lower Antilles face extreme risk to life and property,” warned Acuweather Lead Hurricane Forecaster Alex DaSilva.

Across the region, people boarded their homes, lined up at gas stations for fuel, and stocked up on supplies and water in preparation for the storm.

image source, Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

image caption, Buildings are boarded up in Bridgetown, Barbados, at the head of the storm’s arrival

Hurricane Beryl, which formed Friday night as a tropical storm, is already packing 130 mph winds toward the western Caribbean, forecasters say.

By the time the storm hits the Windward Islands, made up of Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada, they have predicted “hurricane” winds, a “life-threatening” storm. Upheaval and heavy rain.

Beryl is the second named storm of the season after Tropical Storm Alberto, which made landfall in northeastern Mexico on June 20. 4 people died due to the heavy rains of that storm.

Barbados’ weather service issued warnings of power outages and flash flooding as the eye of the hurricane is expected to pass about 26 miles (45 km) south of the island.

The storm is expected to drop up to six inches (15 cm) of rain on Caribbean islands including Barbados.

People in the Barbadian capital of Bridgetown boarded their homes and thronged supermarkets and gas stations.

“We are absolutely vigilant and must take every possible precaution for ourselves, our families and our neighbors,” Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley said on Saturday.

In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves urged owners of supermarkets and gas stations to extend opening hours ahead of the typhoon’s arrival, and emergency shelters will open Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, in a briefing shared online by the Dominica government, meteorologist Ithoma James urged residents to be prepared, warning the cyclone was “catastrophic”.

Hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, will be busy this year, forecasters say.

Eight to 13 storms could develop into hurricanes, NOAA said.

Anywhere from four to seven of those storms could strengthen into three or more severe hurricanes. This is more than double the usual number.

Hurricane Beryl is now one of the earliest arrivals of NOAA-warned storms.

Michael Lowry, a hurricane expert, wrote on social media that it was “amazing” to see three or more storms forecast “anywhere in the Atlantic, let alone this far east in the deep tropics” this early in the season.

“There were only 5 major (Category 3+) hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic before the first week of July. Beryl would be the sixth and lowest east in the tropical Atlantic.”

Hurricanes are classified from one to five – category five storms carry the strongest winds of 155mph (250km/h). The stronger a hurricane is, the more damage it is considered capable of causing.

There were 19 named storms in the 2023 hurricane season.

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