Hurricane Beryl Set to Risk Lives on Gulf Coast Over Holiday

Arthur Daniel/Reuters
Arthur Daniel/Reuters

Life-threatening rip currents caused by record-setting Hurricane Beryl are likely to hit the U.S. coast from Texas to Florida this holiday weekend, forecasters warned Thursday.

The hurricane was downgraded to a Category 4 storm early Thursday but has already taken at least nine lives and destroyed hundreds of homes on small Caribbean islands as it barreled through.

Now the National Hurricane Center is warning of hazardous conditions along the Gulf Coast from Friday afternoon.

“Even though Hurricane Beryl is hundreds of miles away, it will still raise the risk of strong rip currents in our area this weekend,” the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi said.

A map of the Carribean showing how Hurricane Beryl will progress

This is the National Hurricane Center's prediction of Beryl's path, which shows that it could enter the south of Texas. Forecasters are warning of dangerous rip tides all along the U.S. Gulf coast from Friday evening.

National Hurricane Center/NOAA

“If you're heading to the beach for the 4th of July holiday, make sure to follow beach safety guidelines and swim near a lifeguard.”

Rip currents, which can be hard to identify once in the water, pose a significant risk even to experienced swimmers. Multiple lives have been lost due to rip currents, underlining the seriousness of these warnings.

While the Gulf Coast faces immediate threats, the full brunt of Hurricane Beryl's rain and wind is expected to hit the U.S. early next week.

The Caribbean has already felt Beryl's wrath. In Jamaica, the storm damaged coastal infrastructure and agricultural areas. Prime Minister Andrew Holness reported that while the damage was not as severe as feared, it was still significant. Around 1,000 people remain in shelters, with disruptions to telecommunications and electricity.

A woman walks in front of a sign saying "Go Home Beryl!"

Elsewhere, Beryl wreaked havoc in Barbados, jumbling fishing boats, and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines 95% of homes on two small islands were damaged or destroyed.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts that the storm will weaken but remain a hurricane until making landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula late Thursday. “Hurricane-force winds, dangerous storm surge, and heavy rainfall are expected over portions of the Yucatan Peninsula beginning tonight as Beryl approaches that area as a hurricane,” the center said.

The hurricane set a record for the earliest storm to hit Category 5, which forecasters have warned is evidence of climate change and likely to mean an unusually active hurricane season.

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