Southeast Caribbean braces for 'life-threatening winds' from Hurricane Beryl

The southeast Caribbean began shutting down on Sunday as residents braced for potentially life-threatening winds and flash flooding from Hurricane Beryl, which has strengthened into a Category 4 storm, US forecasters said. Government officials pleaded with people to take shelter as hurricane experts warned that it was extremely rare for such a powerful storm to form this early in the Atlantic hurricane season.

Hurricane Beryl has become a very dangerous Category 4 storm in the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to bring life-threatening winds and flash flooding to the Caribbean's Windward Islands as it rapidly strengthens into Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The first hurricane of the 2024 season was located about 350 miles (565 km) east-southeast of Barbados on Sunday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 kph), the NHC said in an advisory.

It is rare for a major hurricane to appear this early in the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. On Sunday, Beryl became the earliest Category 4 hurricane on record, beating Hurricane Dennis, which became a Category 4 on July 8, 2005, according to NHC data.

Hurricane warnings have been issued in Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands, Grenada and Tobago.

The NHC warned those islands to brace for up to 6 inches (15 cm) of rain. It said Beryl would raise water levels by up to 9 feet (2.74 meters) above normal tide levels where the hurricane makes landfall.


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