Hurricane Beryl, Having Grown Stronger, Barrels Toward Yucatán Peninsula

Hurricane Beryl was moving toward Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula early Friday as a Category 3 storm, after spending the last week tearing through the eastern Caribbean, where it left islands flattened in its wake. It was expected to make landfall on Friday before emerging in the Gulf of Mexico.

At least eight people have been killed as the storm lashed parts of Grenada, then Jamaica and the Cayman Islands this week. Beryl, which formed as a tropical storm last Friday, grew at one point to a Category 5 hurricane, breaking a record for the earliest such storm in the Atlantic season.

Beryl made landfall on Monday in Grenada, where officials said about 98 percent of the buildings on Carriacou and Petite Martinique, where 9,000 to 10,000 people live in total, had been damaged or destroyed, including Carriacou’s main health facility. Crops were ravaged, and fallen trees and utility poles littered the streets.

“We have to rebuild from the ground up,” said Dickon Mitchell, prime minister of Grenada.

It then churned along toward Jamaica, where on Wednesday heavy rain and destructive winds left their mark as well. Beryl was the strongest storm to approach the island in over a decade.

The storm ripped away a section of the jet bridge roof of Jamaica’s main airport. Jamaica’s transport minister, Daryl Vaz, said a plan was being prepared to figure out how the airport would operate while the roof for boarding and arrivals was being repaired.

Residents in the Cayman Islands were largely breathing a sigh of relief after Hurricane Beryl passed by at Category 3 strength on Thursday morning without making landfall. There were no reports of significant damage, injuries or fatalities. Officials said, however, that they were still assessing the storm’s full effects.

Forecasters were predicting that Mexico would be hit not just once, but twice by the hurricane. It was on track to cross the Yucatán Peninsula on Friday, and then, after traversing the Gulf of Mexico, reach the coast of the northern state of Tamaulipas.

With the center forecasting “dangerous” storm surges and hurricane-force winds, the Mexican authorities were taking no chances. The government said on Thursday that it had deployed more than 13,000 workers and members of the armed forces, along with rescue dogs, and had set up mobile kitchens and water-treatment plants in Quintana Roo, a southern state facing the Caribbean that may be the first to feel the storm’s impact.

Forecasters have warned that the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season could be much more active than usual.

In late May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 17 to 25 named storms this year, an “above-normal” number and a prediction in line with more than a dozen forecasts earlier in the year from experts at universities, private companies and government agencies. Hurricane seasons produce 14 named storms, on average.

Johnny Diaz, John Yoon, John Keefe, Mike Ives, Kenton X. Chance, Aimee Ortiz Derrick Bryson Taylor Julius Gittens, Remy Tumin, Jesus Jiménez, Orlando Mayorquín Sharefil Gaillard, Derek M. Norman, Linda Straker and Yan Zhuang contributed reporting.

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