Beryl to intensify as deadly storm barrels towards Texas coast | Climate News

Storm is expected to again reach hurricane strength over Gulf of Mexico after killing at least 11 across the Caribbean.

Tropical Storm Beryl is expected to strengthen as it heads towards the US state of Texas, after cutting a deadly trail across the Caribbean.

The storm is expected to hit the coast of Texas on Sunday night, two days after it made landfall in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Beryl was downgraded to a tropical storm, but it is expected to again strengthen to a hurricane as it travels over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

While no deaths were reported in Mexico, Beryl killed at least 11 people across the Caribbean after its strong winds and heavy rains lashed Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and northern Venezuela.

As it swept over the region, the storm rapidly grew to a Category 4 hurricane before briefly reaching Category 5 intensity, according to the United States-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

That made it the fiercest storm ever recorded that early in the Atlantic hurricane season, a reality scientists say has been fuelled by human-caused climate change.

Waves crash as Hurricane Beryl strikes in Playa del Carmen, Mexico [Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters]

Beryl is expected to make landfall in Texas as a Category 1 hurricane somewhere between the city of Brownsville and north of Corpus Christi, NHC senior specialist Jack Beven told The Associated Press news agency.

However, he cautioned the storm could strengthen further “if Beryl stays over water longer” than expected.

He said the storm could see its winds increase from between 27 to 37 kilometres per hour (17 to 23mph) over the next 24 hours.

The agency warned of storm surges in northeastern Mexico and along the coast of Texas, as well as flash flooding and life-threatening rip currents.

Beryl had caused property damage and power outages across Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the country’s top tourist destination.

Hundreds of tourists were evacuated from hotels along the coast as the storm approached, with the military deploying about 8,000 troops to Tulum with food supplies and 34,000 litres (9,000 gallons) of purified water.

At Cancun airport, about 100 domestic and international flights scheduled between Thursday and Friday were cancelled.

The storm had travelled along the coast of northern Venezuela, where three people were killed.

Three others were killed in Grenada, where two islands – Carriacou and nearby Petite Martinique – were hardest hit.

Tevin Andrews, the minister for the islands, on Friday appealed to the United Nations and humanitarian organisations for “anything that would allow a human being to survive”.

The neighbouring Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was also badly hit, Simon Springett, the top UN humanitarian official for the eastern Caribbean and Barbados, told The AP. At least three more people were reported killed in the country.

Beryl jamaica
Olive Rowe stands among the remnants of her home in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl in St Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica [Maria Alejandra Cardona/Reuters]

Two people were also killed in Jamaica, where thousands remained without power.

Atypically warm waters – which fuel major storms – have largely been blamed for Beryl’s intensity.

North Atlantic waters remain between 1-3 degrees Celsius (1.8-5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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