Beryl makes landfall as Category 4 hurricane on island near Grenada

The first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season slams into Carriacou, which is part of Grenada, amid warnings of ‘life-threatening conditions’.

A fallen tree on the street as Hurricane Beryl passes by Bridgetown, Barbados [Chandan Khanna/AFP]

Hurricane Beryl, the first storm of the 2024 Atlantic season, has slammed into the Caribbean island of Carriacou, which is part of Grenada, as a powerful Category 4 storm, the National Hurricane Center says.

“The eye of #Beryl has made landfall on Carriacou Island,” the NHC wrote on X on Monday, warning residents in a separate bulletin of “life-threatening conditions” and that “winds will rapidly increase within the eyewall”.

Carriacou is one of the islands of Grenada, where officials said winds increased up to 240kmph (150mph), blowing off roofs and causing other damage.

Hurricane warnings were in effect for Barbados, Grenada, Tobago, and St Vincent and the Grenadines as thousands of people hunkered down in homes and shelters.

The last strong hurricane to hit the southeast Caribbean was Hurricane Ivan 20 years ago, which killed dozens of people in Grenada.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for St Lucia, Martinique and Trinidad. A tropical storm watch was issued for Haiti’s entire southern coast and from Punta Palenque in the Dominican Republic west to the border with Haiti. A hurricane watch was issued for Jamaica.

Forecasters warned of a life-threatening storm surge of up to 9 feet (3 metres) in areas where Beryl made landfall, with 3-6 inches (76-150mm) of rain for Barbados and nearby islands and possibly 10 inches (250mm) in some areas, especially in Grenada and the Grenadines.

The storm was expected to weaken slightly over the Caribbean Sea on a path that would take it just south of Jamaica and later towards Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 storm.

“It should be emphasised that Beryl is forecast to remain a significant hurricane during its entire trek across the Caribbean region,” the National Hurricane Center said.

Officials in some southeast Caribbean islands announced controlled shutdowns of electricity and warned of water outages before the storm, urging people to seek shelter. They warned of landslides and flash flooding as schools, airports and government offices were shuttered.

People stand in line at a hardware store as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Beryl in Bridgetown, Barbados [File: Chandan Khanna/AFP]

Beryl amassed its strength from record-warm waters that are hotter now than they would be at the peak of hurricane season in September, he said.

It also marked the farthest east that a hurricane has formed in the tropical Atlantic in June, breaking a record set in 1933, according to Philip Klotzbach, Colorado State University hurricane researcher.

Among those weathering the storm was Jaswinderpal Parmar of Fresno, California, who had travelled to Barbados for Saturday’s Twenty20 World Cup final, cricket’s biggest event in its shortest format. He and his family were stuck there with scores of other fans as their flights were cancelled on Sunday.

He said by phone that it was the first time he had experienced a hurricane, with heavy rain starting at midnight. He and his family have been praying, as well as taking calls from concerned friends and family as far away as India.

“We couldn’t sleep last night,” Parmar, 47, said. “We were keeping an eye on it.”

Source: News Agencies