Dangerous Hurricane Beryl blasting Jamaica while racing across Caribbean

•Beryl crossed a portion of the Windward Islands as an intense Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph Monday

•Beryl is the strongest hurricane on record to hit portions of the Windward Islands so early in the season and the earliest 165-mph Category 5 hurricane on record for the Atlantic basin

•AccuWeather meteorologists warn that Beryl could reach part of the United States after its trek through the Caribbean.

Hurricane Beryl will continue to churn west-northwestward, with significant risks to lives and property coming to areas over the central and northwestern Caribbean for the balance of this week. AccuWeather meteorologists have deemed there will be no threats from Beryl along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Still, interests along the Texas portion of the Gulf Coast should monitor the situation closely, as the chances of direct impacts are increasing.

Quick-moving Beryl tore across the Windward Islands with a path of destruction on Monday. The smaller islands south of St. Vincent and areas just north of Grenada bore the storm’s full Category 4 fury, with maximum sustained winds of at least 150 mph. The eye passed directly over the island of Carriacou at 11:10 AST. Late Monday evening, Beryl strengthened to Category 5 status (sustained winds of 157 mph or greater), with sustained winds reaching 165 mph Monday night. It has since lost wind intensity and is a Category 4, but remains a dangerous storm.

“The next appreciable landmass in Beryl’s path will be Jamaica on Wednesday,” AccuWeather Lead Hurricane Expert Alex DaSilva said.

As of Wednesday morning, Beryl remained a dangerous Category 4 hurricane while approaching Jamaica with sustained winds of 145 mph. Beryl was moving west-northwestward at 18 mph.

Factors affecting Beryl’s intensity have been much warmer-than-historical-average waters and light breezes in the path of the hurricane through Tuesday night. When these breezes, known as wind shear, become strong, they can lead to the loss of wind intensity for an established tropical system.

“Through much of the balance of Beryl’s life over water beyond Wednesday night, the hurricane should encounter stronger wind shear,” AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

“Interaction with the larger landmasses of the Greater Antilles in the central and western Caribbean should begin to take the edge off Beryl’s intensity as well later this week,” Rayno added.

Even if Beryl loses some wind intensity during the latter part of the week, it will remain a dangerous hurricane. It is likely to produce torrential rain, flooding, mudslides, damaging winds, pounding seas, and a storm surge along its path and many miles away from its center.

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have escaped Beryl’s wrath. As Beryl continues west-northwestward, portions of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and southeastern Cuba will experience moderate impacts from rain, wind and seas into Wednesday night.

Jamaica to experience Beryl’s wrath Wednesday
Beryl’s eyewall will pass over or just south of the south coast of Jamaica during the midday hours on Wednesday.

Jamaica will experience extreme risk to lives and property Wednesday as the powerful hurricane has the large island, home to nearly 3 million people, in its sights. The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes for Jamaica is a 4. Conditions will deteriorate rapidly in Jamaica on Wednesday morning. Due to Beryl’s intensity on Wednesday, the destruction in part of the island nation may be similar to that of portions of the Windward Islands.

Destructive winds with life-threatening flooding rain and storm surge flooding are anticipated in Jamaica for several hours on Wednesday. A life-threatening storm surge of 6-10 feet is forecast on the southern part of the island. Only the short duration of hurricane conditions may limit impacts somewhat on the island.

“Only one hurricane has ever affected Jamaica during July,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell said, “Category 4 Hurricane Dennis in 2005 did not make landfall but killed one person and caused a lot of damage.”

If Beryl makes landfall in Jamaica, as AccuWeather expects it to on Wednesday, it would be the first July hurricane to do so since records have been kept since the 1800s.

Beryl will continue to motor along over the western Caribbean later this week. The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes for the Cayman Islands is a 2 and for Mexico it is a 1. As Beryl continues to move along an assessment of the RealImpact for the U.S. (Texas) will be considered in the coming days.

Story courtesy of AccuWeather

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