Hurricane Beryl makes landfall in Mexican coast


CANCUN/TULUM, Mexico (Reuters) – Hurricane Beryl, a Category 2 storm, made landfall in Mexico’s top tourist destinations early on Friday, triggering a red alert in the region following its deadly trail of destruction across several Caribbean islands.

The storm, expected to bring with it a dangerous surge and potentially damaging waves, is packing winds of up to 110 mph (175 kph) the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said, as it entered the northeast of Tulum in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Hurricane Beryl, the first of the 2024 Atlantic season, was at one point a Category 5 storm, making it the earliest Category 5 storm on record. This extraordinary storm season is believed by scientists to be fueled by climate change.

Beryl is about 5 miles (10 km) east of Tulum, a popular Mexican resort.

Hurricane conditions are affecting the Yucatan Peninsula, and a hurricane warning has been issued for the coast from Puerto Costa Maya to Cancun, including Cozumel.

Mexico’s civil protection agency has issued a red alert, signalling a maximum hazard threat. The agency has advised residents to remain in their homes or seek refuge in storm shelters.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador echoed this advice, urging those in the storm’s path to seek shelter. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing life over material possessions in a social media post.

In Quintana Roo, home to Cancun, Governor Mara Lezama posted a video of Tulum’s downtown showing strong winds and rain already affecting the region. He urged residents to take all necessary precautions as the storm’s impact is expected to be felt across the state.

Schools in Quintana Roo have been closed and the Mexico’s defense ministry has opened around 120 storm shelters in the area.

Before reaching Mexico, Hurricane Beryl wreaked havoc in the Caribbean. It swept through Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, and northern Venezuela, claiming at least 11 lives, bringing down buildings and uprooting trees.

The death toll may rise as more information becomes available.

Hurricane Beryl is expected to weaken rapidly as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula, but is forecast to regain strength when it moves over the Gulf of Mexico. The NHC predicts that the storm will move towards northeastern Mexico and southern Texas towards the end of the weekend.

Hurricane Beryl led to the evacuation of around 3,000 tourists from Isla Mujeres, an island near Cancun, the island’s tourism director Jose Magana said. Many residents, including fishermen, have sought shelter in anticipation of the storm’s impact.

About 100 flights were cancelled at Cancun International Airport on Thursday, causing many tourists to rush to catch the last outgoing flights.

Mexico’s major oil platforms, primarily located in the southern Gulf of Mexico, are not expected to be impacted or shut down, but oil projects in U.S. waters to the north may be affected if the hurricane continues on its expected path.

(Reporting by Zahra Burton in Kingston, José de Jesús Cortes and Raquel Cunha in Tulum, and Paola Chiomante in Cancun; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Boyle in Mexico City, Robertson Henry in St. Vincent, Natalia Siniawski in Gdansk and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Writing by Cassandra Garrison and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Kim Coghill, Stephen Coates and Barbara Lewis)



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