Hurricane Beryl moves toward Jamaica as storm is forecast to impact Texas next week 

Hurricane Beryl was forecast to hit Jamaica later on Wednesday, July 3, 2024. Image: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 
Hurricane Beryl was forecast to hit Jamaica later on Wednesday, July 3, 2024. Image: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

By Jack Phillips 
Contributing Writer 

Hurricane Beryl weakened slightly on Wednesday morning to a Category 4 system as it was forecast to hit Jamaica later in the day, according to the National Hurricane Center, as it predicted that the storm’s remains will impact Texas next week. 

In an 11 a.m. update, the NHC wrote that tropical storm conditions were spreading across Jamaica, and hurricane conditions were “expected during the next several hours” for the island nation. The NHC’s “cone of uncertainty” showed Beryl’s center would track slightly to the south of Jamaica. 

In the next day or two, officials say Beryl is likely to weaken but will remain near “major hurricane intensity,” or Category 3 or greater. As of midday Wednesday, the storm, which was located 75 miles to the east of Jamaica, had 145 mph winds and was a Category 4. 

“On the forecast track, the center of Beryl will pass near or over Jamaica during the next several hours,” the agency said late Wednesday morning. 

After that, the eye of Beryl was expected to hit the nearby Cayman Islands on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, according to the federal weather forecaster. 

A hurricane warning was in effect for Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac as of Wednesday morning. Jamaica is under a state of emergency as the island was declared a disaster zone hours before the impact of Hurricane Beryl. 

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that the disaster zone declaration will remain for the next seven days. He also announced an island-wide curfew between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesday. 

Security forces “will be fully mobilized to maintain public order and assist with disaster relief. As soon as the hurricane has passed, the security forces have developed strategic plans to counter any potential threat of looting or any other opportunistic crimes,” the prime minister warned. 

An evacuation order was also issued for communities across Jamaica that are prone to flooding and landslides. His office urged Jamaicans to move away from low-lying areas. 

Storm surge of 6 to 9 feet above typical tide levels were likely in Jamaica, as well as heavy rainfall, according to the NHC. The storm was expected to produce rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches, with localized amounts of 12 inches, across the island until Wednesday night, the agency said. About 4 to 6 inches was expected for the Tiburon Peninsula of Haiti. 

“This heavy rainfall is expected to cause life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides,” the NHC warned. 

Before the storm weakened somewhat on Wednesday, Beryl reached Category 5 strength on Tuesday, with 160 mph winds. 

What Comes Next 

Mexico’s Caribbean coast was preparing for Beryl Wednesday. Both the Mexican and U.S. governments issued a hurricane warning for the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Puerto Costa Maya to Cancun. 

Beryl is expected to weaken to a tropical storm as it crosses the Yucatan peninsula and reemerge over the weekend at storm strength into the Gulf of Mexico. Officials said that Beryl is then expected to hit Mexican territory a second time in the Gulf coast states of Veracruz or Tamaulipas, located just south of the Texas border, on the morning of Monday, July 8. 

After that, the tropical storm or its remnants are expected to impact parts of southern Texas, according to the NHC’s models. 

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted in May that there would be above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic this year. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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