Hurricane Beryl strengthens to Category 5 as it rips through Caribbean

Hurricane Beryl strengthened to a Category 5 storm late Monday, making it the earliest storm of its kind on record as it tears through the Caribbean.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said in a post Tuesday that Beryl remains “an impressive Category 5 hurricane.” This makes it the earliest hurricane at the highest level in the Atlantic, beating the previous record set by Hurricane Emily in 2005, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The storm made landfall as a Category 4 storm on the island of Carriacou in Grenada Monday with devastating winds and heavy rainfall.

Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said at least one person has died during the storm, according to AP. The news wire also reported that debris was scattered across the island after the storm ripped off doors, windows and roofs from homes.

“We do hope there aren’t any other fatalities or any injuries,” Mitchell added. “But bear in mind the challenge we have in Carriacou and Petite Martinique.”

The NHC forecasted that the storm will likely weaken later Tuesday, but will could still bring heavy rainfall and flash flooding to Jamaica Wednesday. The hurricane center also warned that “life-threatening winds and storm surge” were possible in Jamaica later this week.

“Beryl is forecast to remain a powerful hurricane as it moves across the Caribbean Sea later this week. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Jamaica, where hurricane conditions are expected on Wednesday,” the forecast states. “A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the south coast of Hispaniola, and a Hurricane Watch is now in effect for all of the Cayman Islands.”

NHC noted that while the storm’s forecast is “uncertain,” Beryl is expected to hit move toward Yucatan Peninsula as a hurricane within 72 hours before weakening to a tropical storm over the Gulf of Mexico.

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