Hurricane Beryl lashes Jamaica as its center brushes past island coast

At least seven people are known to have died as a result of the storm, which has destroyed homes and devastated farms on islands across the Caribbean.

The small island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was badly hit, with at least one person dead and more casualties feared. In Grenada, where least three people have died, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said many homes had been destroyed and called the storm’s effect “Armageddon-like.” Venezuela was hit by heavy flooding and at least three people have died there, with four more missing, the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro, said.

In Barbados, the fishing community and coastline were hit hard, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said. In a video shared on X, large waves could be seen crashing over a hotel balcony in Dover Beach.

On Monday, Beryl strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane and early Tuesday it reached a record-breaking 165 mph maximum sustained winds, according to the National Hurricane Center, making it the strongest July hurricane on record.

Beryl has continued to weaken as it moved west across the Caribbean Sea toward the Gulf of Mexico — but it is still forecast to be at or near major hurricane status when it the Cayman Islands, which like Jamaica is under a hurricane warning.

The storm is forecast to pass near or over the Cayman Islands Wednesday night or Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

While some slight weakening occurred as the storm approached Jamaica, authorities made clear that this is a major weather event that should not be taken lightly.

“If you live in a low-lying area, an area that is historically prone to flooding and landslide, or if you live on the banks of a river … I implore you to evacuate to a shelter or to safer ground,” Holness, Jamaica’s prime minister, said in a video statement Tuesday.

Casey and Warner Haley, of Knoxville, Tennessee, were enjoying their honeymoon after getting married Saturday when they were told they needed to hunker down at their resort in Montego Bay.

“Yesterday morning it was perfect weather. We went snorkeling and we went kayaking and by the time we got back, the forecast had changed,” Casey, 23, said in a phone interview Wednesday.

The couple said they immediately contacted their travel agent but were told there were no flights available. At the airport, they were told the same.

“It was quite literally doomsday-type level scenery,” Casey said. “We went to all the flight counters, just saying, ‘Hey can you get us anywhere at all, particularly in the U.S., but literally just anywhere. And they all said, ‘No, we’re all booked.'”

The local grocery was packed, Casey said, describing it as “an absolute frenzy” with lines reaching to the back.

A mandatory evacuation has not been ordered at the resort, but a conference room has been opened up for guests to ride out the hurricane.

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