Hurricane Beryl Death Toll Rises as Storm Moves Through the Caribbean and Causes ‘Unimaginable’ Damage

As Hurricane Beryl hits Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the death toll continues to rise

Published Time: 04.07.2024 - 06:31:08 Modified Time: 04.07.2024 - 06:31:08

As Hurricane Beryl hits Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the death toll continues to rise.

The death toll from the Category 4 hurricane has risen to at least nine at the time of publication, per Reuters. Three people reportedly died in Grenada and Carriacou, three people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and three people in Venezuela.

The number is expected to increase once communications come back online after being destroyed by the deadly tropical storm’s flooding and dangerous winds.

Hurricane Beryl peaked on the morning of Tuesday, July 2, and was identified as a Category 5 storm that hit smaller Caribbean islands. However, it remained a major hurricane when it reached Jamaica and the Cayman Islands on Wednesday.

Before the storm reached Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness set a 12-hour curfew to start at 6 a.m. and issued an evacuation order for low-lying areas, per the New York Times.

Holness said that nearly 500 people were placed in shelters, per Associated Press. Holness said Wednesday evening that Jamaica has not seen the “worst of what could possibly happen.”

Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said during a briefing that the islands will need to be rebuilt “from the ground up” after the storm hit with “unimaginable” and “total” destruction on Monday, per the New York Times. Many residents on Grenada’s main island have lost their homes, but the destruction on the smaller islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique is significantly worse, Mitchell said.

Officials have said about 98% of the buildings on Carriacou and Petite Martinique have been either damaged or destroyed, including the airport, marinas and Carriacou’s main health faci -

lity, the Princess Royal Hospital, per the Times.

Approximately 9,000 to 10,000 people live on the small islands. As of Tuesday evening, residents on both did not have access to electricity and communication was down. Additionally, utility poles have fallen in the streets, trees have fallen and crops across the islands have been destroyed.

“There is literally no vegetation left anywhere on the island of Carriacou, the mangroves are totally destroyed,” Mitchell said, per the Times.

Officials are trying to assess the damage, focusing on the water supply and power grid.

The storm — which formed on Monday — became the earliest storm to begin as a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean in the month of July, per Reuters. After peaking on Tuesday with winds of 165 mph, the storm’s winds decreased to about 100 miles on Wednesday. However, it had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. Additionally, it moved west-northwest at 20 mph, and its strength winds extended 45 miles from the center.

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The National Hurricane Center has issued a warning that Beryl will likely hit Mexico's Yucatan peninsula as early as Thursday night, per Reuters. Officials have advised residents and tourists in Cancun and Tulum to find shelter in basements as the hurricane comes through the peninsula.

It is expected to hit Mexican territory a second time and land in the Gulf Coast states of Veracruz or Tamaulipas, near the Texas border.

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