Dangerous Hurricane Beryl makes landfall in Mexico with Texas up next

Beryl is the strongest hurricane on record to hit portions of the Windward Islands so early in the season and is the earliest 165-mph Category 5 hurricane on record for the Atlantic basin

•Beryl brought life-threatening conditions and extreme destruction as a Category 4 hurricane to Jamaica Wednesday and was producing dangerous conditions in part of Mexico Friday

AccuWeather meteorologists warn that Beryl's rain and wind impacts will reach the United States after its trek through Mexico

After carving a path of destruction and threatening lives in Jamaica at midweek, Hurricane Beryl's next stop will be in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Friday. AccuWeather meteorologists expect that steering breezes will then guide Beryl into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this weekend before making another landfall in northeastern Mexico early next week with storm surge, flooding downpours and strong winds.

Despite beginning to encounter some wind shear near Jamaica, Beryl remained a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph as it encountered the island nation in the central Caribbean. Loss of life and damage similar to that of portions of the Windward Islands are feared but may not be fully assessed until days after the hurricane's departure.

"Through the middle of this week, very warm waters and low wind shear allowed Hurricane Beryl to thrive while crossing the eastern and central Caribbean," AccuWeather Lead Hurricane Expert Alex DaSilva said. Wind shear is associated with stiff breezes from one direction or shifting directions. When wind shear is strong, it can disrupt an established tropical storm or hurricane.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula from Puerto Allen to Cancun. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Yucatan Peninsula from north of Cancun to Campeche.

Beryl's eye passed just to the south of the Cayman Islands, located west of Jamaica, at midday on Thursday with the wind intensity of 115 mph, making it a Category 3 hurricane.

As of mid-afternoon, Beryl's peak wind intensity had dipped to 110 mph while pushing away from the Cayman Islands, which makes the storm a Category 2 on the Saffir Simpson Wind Scale for Hurricanes.

However, Beryl restrengthened to a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph for a time Thursday night. Early Friday morning, Beryl's wind intensity slipped slightly and became a Category 2 storm once again with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph. As of 10 a.m. CDT on Friday, Beryl's maximum sustained winds were near 85 mph (Category 1) while over the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, with the center about 680 miles to the east-southeast of Brownsville, Texas.

DaSilva said Beryl had been able to create its own environment bubble into midweek. However, near the Cayman Islands, wind shear increased in the hurricane's path and reduced its peak wind intensity as anticipated.

Beryl made landfall along Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale early Friday morning just northeast of Tulum.

"Beryl will lose wind intensity, but its impacts will remain significant [as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula]," DaSilva said.

Beryl's encounter with the frictional forces of the large land mass of the Yucatan Peninsula and wind shear will further degrade the hurricane's wind intensity from Friday to Friday evening. Because of the magnitude of rain, wind and storm surge, the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes in Mexico is a 2.

Seas will continue to build on the northern and western parts of the peninsula and remain enraged on the Caribbean side. Dangerous storm surge flooding will threaten coastal communities. Widespread power outages and flash flooding are anticipated on the peninsula.

Beryl's loss of wind intensity is likely to be temporary.


Beyond the Yucatan Peninsula, Beryl will emerge over the warm waters of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. Because several days have passed since Tropical Storm Chris moved through the region, water temperatures will have recovered enough to support some increase in wind intensity once again.

At this time, AccuWeather meteorologists expect Beryl to make another landfall near the Texas and Mexico border Sunday evening to early Monday.

Changes in forward speed and the angle at which Beryl approaches the coast will determine the precise time of landfall. For example, Beryl could stall or turn more to the north, paralleling the coast at the last minute before landfall as steering breezes decrease.

Wind shear may ease while Beryl is over the southwestern Gulf. Factoring in lessening wind shear, warm water and access to tropical moisture, AccuWeather meteorologists believe that Beryl may regain hurricane intensity after spending some time as a tropical storm from Friday to Saturday.

The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes in the United States (Texas) is a 1. However, how much strength Beryl regains over the southwestern Gulf this weekend before landfall, as well as a reduction in forward speed, will affect the magnitude of impacts in northeastern Mexico and southern Texas.

"A significant factor to consider is that Beryl's forward speed is likely to slow," AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

Beryl's forward speed was down 25% to 15 mph as of Friday morning, after cruising along much of the Caribbean at 20 mph.

The anticipated slower forward speed will increase the duration of wind, pounding surf and storm surge in northeastern Mexico and a large part of the Texas coast. Once the storm drifts inland, the risk of flooding rainfall will also increase.

AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Expert Paul Pastelok was recently interviewed by ABC Houston and warned that families and businesses in southeastern Texas need to be prepared for the possibility of flooding and should closely monitor forecast updates on Beryl.

"There is a chance that this storm may stall once it gets onshore in Texas, which could lead to more rainfall and flooding concerns," Pastelok said.

The heaviest rain is expected to fall close to where Beryl tracks, from the Yucatan Peninsula to part of northeastern Mexico and portions of southern, central and eastern Texas, where 4-8 inches of rain is expected with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 16 inches. However, should the storm stall over northeastern Mexico or Texas, rainfall amounts in the state could trend significantly higher and correspondingly related impacts could be much more significant.

In the past, tropical storms that have stalled over a region have unleashed tremendous rainfall that led to catastrophic flooding in Texas, such as Harvey in 2017. Every storm and every situation are different, but steering breezes may drop off enough early next week to cause the storm and its downpours to linger. The slower the storm moves over land next week, the greater the potential magnitude of flooding portions of northeastern Mexico and southeastern Texas.

Portions of South Texas can benefit from non-flooding rainfall due to ongoing abnormally dry to drought conditions. But should the center of Beryl track in north of South Texas, the region may miss the system's heaviest rain. In the case of a more northern track into Texas, the heaviest shield of rain would occur farther to the north as well.

Last week, AccuWeather cleared the East Coast of the United States and the Florida Peninsula from Beryl's impacts but warned of potential direct impact in Texas. On Wednesday, AccuWeather cleared the zone from Pensacola, Florida, to New Orleans from Beryl's direct wind and rain impacts.

Another far-reaching impact on the U.S. will be an uptick in strong rip currents along much of the Gulf coast starting this weekend. Beaches and the surf zone will be extra busy with swimmers and boarders this weekend because of the proximity to the Independence Day holiday.

Surf conditions will become dangerous along the south coast of Texas this weekend and may remain so into early next week.

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