Monday, July 15, 2024

Beryl Hits Record Wind Speeds For Early Season Hurricanes, Hits Grenada And St. Vincent, Jamaica Could Be Next.

Photo: US Coastguard. Hurricane swells and winds can cause environmental disasters when multiple boats containing fuel are overturned.
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Hurricane Beryl is now a Category 5 hurricane and is heading towards Jamaica. No Atlantic hurricane has ever developed such high winds so early in the year.

The storm, moving over unusually warm waters, made landfall on Grenada’s Carriacou Island on Monday as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane with winds that had increased to 150 mph.

Grenada and the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines were reeling from a storm that probably will be the region’s most intense hurricane on record.

St. Vincent’s Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has criticised Western nations’ lack of action on climate change amid the catastrophic landfall of Hurricane Beryl.

 

“We have no electricity, and while I am talking to you, the rain is beating on the official prime minister’s residence, and the winds are howling. And it’s going to get much worse,” he said. “The coming hours are going to be horrendous.”

St. Vincent suffers from the double whammy of also having an active volcano on the island.

Hurricane Beryl is now a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 hurricane, the earliest ever to reach that strength in the Atlantic.

The storm, fueled by record-warm waters, made landfall on Grenada’s Carriacou Island on Monday as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane with winds that had increased to 150 mph. Grenada and the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines were reeling from a storm that probably will be the region’s most intense hurricane on record.<

“In half an hour, Carriacou was flattened,” Grenadian Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said Monday.

Later, he said on social media that officials were working to send relief to the affected islands. He did not release a death toll, though communication infrastructure was strained, which may slow reporting.

At least one person died on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the prime minister said Monday evening. “There may well be more fatalities,” Ralph Gonsalves said in an address to the nation, adding that hundreds of houses had been severely damaged or destroyed in the country, including on the main island of St. Vincent.

Although Beryl eased off on Sunday night duing the hours of darkness,  by Tuesday morning, Beryl had strengthened further, reaching maximum sustained winds of 165 mph as it approached Jamaica.

The National Hurricane Center predicted that it would skirt Jamaica on Wednesday.

Beryl is the strongest hurricane to hit the southernmost Windward Islands in about 174 years of record-keeping, meteorologists said. Hurricane Ivan in 2004 had maximum sustained winds of 135 mph when it killed 41 people and caused massive damage across Grenada.

A doctor in southeastern Grenada, said it was difficult to find official government updates on the storm and its damage because of power outages on the island. Through WhatsApp and Facebook, he learned of at least one death in the St. George’s area of Grenada. A house had reportedly collapsed, killing a resident.

Officials had warned residents to stay indoors and seek shelter in concrete-lined bathrooms, if possible. Thousands of Grenadians sought refuge in shelters, local media reportedOn Carriacou and neighboring Petite Martinique, also part of Grenada in the southern Lesser Antilles islands, there was no electricity, limited communication and reports of extensive destruction of roofs and damage to buildings, Mitchell, the Grenadian Prime Minister, said in a live-streamed media briefing earlier Monday.

On the island of Grenada, a hospital and police station were among buildings damaged, he said.

Sources: National Hurricane Center, BBC, CNN, Washington Post.
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