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Hurricane Beryl strengthens into the earliest Category 5 Atlantic storm on


Hurricane Beryl has strengthened into a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane — the earliest on record — as it powers across the Caribbean after bringing devastation to the Windward Islands, where at least one person is dead.

Its intensity also marks just the second time an Atlantic hurricane has reached Category 5 status in July after Emily did so on July 17, 2005, according to the National Hurricane Center. Beryl’s maximum sustained winds have increased to near 160 mph, with higher gusts, the NHC said.

“Fluctuations in strength are likely during the next day or so, but Beryl is expected to still be near major hurricane intensity as its moves into the central Caribbean and passes near Jamaica on Wednesday,” the NHC said.

Beryl made landfall shortly after 11:00 a.m. EDT on Grenada’s Carriacou Island in the Caribbean Sea with max winds of 150 mph. It is the strongest known hurricane to pass through the Grenadines, according to data from NOAA that goes back to 1851.

There were “widespread reports of destruction and devastation in Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said in a Monday news briefing. “In half an hour, Carriacou was flattened.”

Mitchell said there were no immediate reports of death or injury in Grenada but warned that could change.

“You have to appreciate the ferocity and the strength of the hurricane and therefore we are not yet out of the woods,” he said.

At least one death was reported in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where hundreds of homes and buildings have been damaged, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves announced Monday evening, noting there may be more fatalities. Parts of St. Vincent and the Grenadines were left with no water or electricity as of Monday night, Gonsalves said.

Hurricane Beryl “left in its wake immense destruction, pain, suffering, across our nation at this hour,” he said. Union Island, just north of Grenada, was devastated, with reports indicating 90% of the houses have been severely damaged or destroyed, Gonsalves said.

In Grenada, about 95% of the island has lost power due to Hurricane Beryl, Neila K. Ettienne, press secretary for the office of the prime minister, told CNN on Monday. Telecommunications across Grenada are down, and some individuals have lost internet service, Ettienne explained.

All schools and business are closed, including the airport, the secretary said, adding only hospitals and the national police force are currently operational. The airport reported a sustained wind speed of 92 mph and a gust of 121 mph Monday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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Beryl’s arrival marks an exceptionally early start to the Atlantic hurricane season. On Sunday it became the earliest Category 4 on record in the Atlantic Ocean and the only Category 4 in the month of June. The abnormally warm ocean waters that facilitated Beryl’s alarming strengthening are a clear indicator that this hurricane season will be far from normal in a world warming due to fossil fuel pollution.

Beryl is breaking records because the ocean is as warm now as it would normally be at the peak of hurricane season, said Jim Kossin, a hurricane expert and science advisor at nonprofit First Street Foundation.

“Hurricanes don’t know what month it is, they only know what their ambient environment is,” Kossin told CNN. “Beryl is breaking records for the month of June because Beryl thinks it’s September.”

Kossin added the ocean heat fueling Beryl’s unprecedented strengthening “certainly have a human fingerprint on them.”

Beryl is a dangerous hurricane: The storm was located 510 miles east-southeast of Isla Beata in the Dominican Republic, had sustained winds of 160 mph and was moving to the west-northwest at 22 mph as of Monday evening. Beryl’s hurricane-force winds extend 40 miles from center while tropical-storm-force winds extend about 125 miles. The storm’s center…

Read More: Hurricane Beryl strengthens into the earliest Category 5 Atlantic storm on

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