Hurricane Beryl Threatens Jamaica After Devastating Southeastern Caribbean

Hurricane Beryl Threatens Jamaica

Hurricane Beryl, a Category 4 storm, is barreling towards Jamaica after causing significant destruction in the southeastern Caribbean.

The powerful hurricane, the earliest on record to reach Category 5 status, has already claimed at least six lives across the region and destroyed approximately 90 percent of homes on one island in the Grenadines archipelago. Beryl is expected to pass near or over Jamaica on Wednesday, maintaining its “extremely dangerous” Category 4 status, before moving towards the Cayman Islands on Thursday.

The storm has left a path of devastation in its wake, with three fatalities in Grenada, one in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and two in northern Venezuela, where heavy rainfall has affected 25,000 people. Grenada’s Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell reported that the island of Carriacou has been severely impacted, with homes, telecommunications, and fuel facilities flattened. The destruction on Union Island in St Vincent and the Grenadines is immense, with 90 percent of homes destroyed.

Jamaica is now preparing for Beryl’s onslaught, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness urging residents to stock up on essential supplies and secure their homes. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has warned that Jamaica will face life-threatening winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges.

“We are most concerned about Jamaica, where we are expecting the core of a major hurricane to pass near or over the island,” said Michael Brennan, NHC Director.

Scientists attribute Beryl’s rapid intensification to human-caused climate change. The storm jumped from a Category 1 to a Category 4 in under 10 hours, marking the fastest intensification recorded before September, the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. Warmer waters in the North Atlantic, driven by global warming, have led to more evaporation, fueling more intense hurricanes.

The WMO has stated that Beryl sets an alarming precedent for what is expected to be a very active hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a well above average season, with 17 to 25 named storms, including up to 13 hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

As Jamaica and other Caribbean nations brace for Beryl’s impact, the urgent need for preparedness and resilient infrastructure becomes increasingly clear in the face of a changing climate.