Beryl Strengthens To ‘Extremely Dangerous’ Category 4 Hurricane

(AFP) — Beryl, the first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season, strengthened into an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm Sunday as it threatened the southeast Caribbean with potentially life-threatening winds and storm surge, US trackers said.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned residents that Beryl — currently churning in the Atlantic Ocean about 350 miles (565 kilometres) east of Barbados — was creating a “very dangerous situation” and to heed local government and emergency management instructions.

Beryl “is now an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane,” it said, noting that the storm’s eye is expected to move early on Monday across the Windward Islands, a cluster of islands including Martinique, Saint Lucia and Grenada, among others.

The storm will produce “potentially catastrophic hurricane-force winds, a life-threatening storm surge, and damaging waves,” the NHC forecast said.

Barbados, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Tobago were all under hurricane warnings, while tropical storm warnings or watches were in effect for Martinique, Dominica and Trinidad, the NHC said in its latest advisory.

In the Barbadian capital of Bridgetown, cars were seen lined up at gas stations, while supermarkets and grocery stores were crowded with shoppers buying food, water and other supplies. Some households were already boarding up their properties.

St Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Grenada were at the highest risk of being at the centre of the storm’s core beginning early Monday, the NHC said.