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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Hurricane Beryl makes landfall on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

WorldHurricane Beryl makes landfall on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

Hurricane Beryl barrelled into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula after sweeping through the Caribbean, bringing strong winds, dangerous storm surges and heavy rain.

Beryl made landfall just northeast of Tulum, with maximum sustained winds of almost 110 miles per hour, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

Hurricane warnings are in effect along an area dubbed the Mayan Riviera for its touristy beaches and ruins, with alerts stretching from Costa Maya port to Cancun, including the island of Cozumel.

Local authorities have evacuated residents from communities along the storm’s path. Tulum airport suspended operations and Cancun’s airport cancelled flights, according to local media outlet El Universal.

School was cancelled in the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, Laura Velázquez Alzúa, Mexico’s national coordinator for civil protection, said on Thursday.

Geographers in Mexico take measurements early on Friday as Hurricane Beryl made landfall in some of the nation’s top tourist destinations. Photo: Reuters

Mexico’s civil protection agency issued a red alert, signalling a maximum hazard threat. The agency advised residents to remain in their homes or seek refuge in storm shelters.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador echoed this advice, urging those in the storm’s path to seek shelter. In a social media post he emphasised the importance of prioritising life over material possessions.

Beryl has already left a trail of destruction and killed several people in the Caribbean, and earlier this week its winds topped the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, achieving a rare Category 5 strength.

It was the earliest Atlantic storm to do so, signalling an unusually active hurricane season as hot ocean waters fuel tropical systems. The storm weakened after sweeping westward past Grenada and Jamaica, but still left widespread damage.

The storm is expected to weaken before it crosses the southern Gulf of Mexico and hits near the US state of Texas, becoming a tropical storm and depression into Wednesday.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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