Category 4: Hurricane Beryl made landfall on an island near Grenada

Category 4: Hurricane Beryl made landfall on an island near Grenada

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) — Hurricane Beryl smashed doors, roofs and windows through the Caribbean Monday after making landfall on Grenada's Cariaco island as the first Category 4 hurricane of the Atlantic season in historically warm waters.

There are no reports of casualties or injuries so far, but communications across the region have been severely affected.

Shoes, trees and other debris were strewn across streets on the island of St. Lucia, south of Grenada, as winds of 240 km/h (150 mph) strewn banana trees in half, dead cows lay sleeping on grass, and fragile tin houses swayed.

“I feel very heartbroken right now,” said Vissel Clarke King as she assessed the damage to her shop, which was filled with water and sand in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. Beryl was moving through the southeastern Caribbean on Monday night and began moving toward the Caribbean Sea on a path that would take it some distance south of Jamaica and then toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 storm by Thursday afternoon.

Beryl had sustained winds of 250 kilometers (155 mph) on Monday night, approaching Category 5.

Beryl's vortex was located 925 kilometers (575 mi) east-southeast of Beta Island, Dominican Republic, and was moving west-northwest at 33 km/h (21 mph). Jamaica could see hurricane conditions by Wednesday.

A hurricane warning has been issued for Jamaica, and a tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire southern coast of Hispaniola, an island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“Beryl is expected to become a very dangerous hurricane as it moves through the eastern Caribbean,” the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

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The last hurricane of this size to hit the southeastern Caribbean was Ivan, which killed dozens of people in Grenada 20 years ago.

Terence Walters, Grenada's national disaster coordinator, said authorities received “disaster reports” from Cariago and neighboring islands on Monday afternoon. Premier Dicken Mitchell noted there was an “extensive” storm surge and said he would head to Carriacou as soon as conditions permitted.

Authorities in Grenada had to evacuate patients to lower floors after the hospital's roof was severely damaged.

“The damage is likely to be much more,” he told reporters. “We have no choice but to continue to pray.”

In Barbados, National Affairs and Information Minister Wilfred Abrahams said drones would be used to assess damage after Beryl.

Beryl went from a tropical depression to a Category 3 hurricane in just 42 hours, something that has only happened six times before since Atlantic hurricanes were recorded, and the first to do so before Sept. 1, according to hurricane expert Sam Lillo.

It was the first Category 4 hurricane to form in the Atlantic this season, surpassing Dennis, which became a Category 4 storm on July 8, 2005.

Beryl is the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. A few weeks ago, Tropical Storm Alberto made landfall in northeastern Mexico, killing four people.

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Cotto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Associated Press video journalist Lucanus Ollivierre in Kingstown, St. Vincent contributed to this report.

Arzu Daniel

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