Hurricane Beryl thunders: 2 dead in Jamaica, heads for Cayman Islands

Mexican Navy officials told people in tourist areas in Spanish and English to prepare for the storm’s arrival.

Millions of homes in Jamaica are without power after Hurricane Beryl roared along the island’s southern coast on Wednesday night.

The category four storm – the strongest ever to hit the country – brought more than 12 hours of heavy rain, sparking fears of flooding.

An island-wide curfew was extended until 06:00 local time (11:00 GMT) on Thursday, and while the hurricane warning has been canceled, it has been replaced with a flood watch. 

After the sun rises and the curfew ends, residents will be able to go outside and get a true assessment of the damage.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports that Beryl has now weakened to a Category 3 storm, and is moving toward the Cayman Islands and southern Mexico.

Here in the capital, Kingston, while the winds were extremely strong, they were not the hurricane-force winds expected. But hours of heavy rain are a real concern, especially on farmland where flooding has been reported.

A resident of the rural farming community said: “It’s scary. Everything is gone. I’m in my house and I’m very scared.”

“It’s a disaster,” said Amoy Wellington, who lives in St. Elizabeth’s South Parish.

On Wednesday night I was able to go out for a while to move my car away from the trees.

A full-length mirror lay next to the car – it might have blown off someone’s balcony, a reminder that unexpected objects become missiles in sudden gusts.

Jamaican energy provider JPS said 65% – or about 400,000 of its customers – were without power on Thursday morning.

The MP for St Elizabeth South Western said the hurricane had dealt parts of the island the “most devastating blow”.

Posting on X, Floyd Green said in his constituency that “a lot of roofs have collapsed, houses are destroyed, trees are uprooted, light poles are down, almost all the roads are impassable.”

King Charles III, who is also the monarch of several Caribbean countries, said on Thursday he was “deeply saddened to learn of the terrible devastation” caused by Hurricane Beryl.

The United Nations has released $4m (£3.1m) from its emergency response fund to help with recovery in Jamaica, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Prime Minister Andrew Hollins took to his X account to thank “first responders, essential services, security forces and good Samaritans who have helped others in this time of crisis”.

Beryl became the fifth Atlantic hurricane in records going back nearly 100 years – thought to be a result of warmer sea surface temperatures.

The storm surprised meteorologists with how quickly it intensified – it took just 42 hours to go from a tropical depression to a major hurricane.

Jenny

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