Hurricane Beryl: Caribbean braces for deadly storm

image source, Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

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

Hurricane Beryl, the first named hurricane of the season, is expected to make landfall on several Caribbean islands late Sunday.

The super storm is strengthening as it moves across the Atlantic towards the Caribbean islands of Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and Martinique.

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.

In an address to the nation on Saturday night, the Prime Minister of Barbados urged residents to keep an eye on their friends, family and neighbors as the cyclone makes landfall.

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

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, has the potential to become a Category 3 storm as it moves from the Caribbean toward the Gulf of Mexico in the coming days, forecasters said.

By the time the storm reaches 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.

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video title, Heavy rain and flooding as Tropical Storm Alberto makes landfall

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, 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 hurricane’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.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its most alarming warning about the current season to date. Forecasters predict 25 storms in 2024.

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

Anywhere from four to seven of those storms could strengthen into Category-3 or stronger hurricanes. This is more than double the usual number.

If Hurricane Beryl continues on the path predicted by some forecasters and develops into a Category 3 storm, the second named storm of the 2024 season could be one of the earliest arrivals of one of NOAA’s warned storms.

“It’s amazing to see a forecast for a major (Category 3+) hurricane anywhere in the Atlantic in June, let alone deep in the tropics to the east,” hurricane expert Michael Lowry said on social media.

“Before the first week of July there were only 5 major (Category 3+) hurricanes on record in the Atlantic. Beryl would be the sixth and most easterly in the tropical Atlantic.”

There were 19 named storms in the 2023 hurricane season.

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