Hurricane Beryl makes landfall on the Caribbean island of Carriacou as a Category 4 hurricane, causing damage.

With dangerous Category 4 strength, Hurricane Beryl made landfall on Carriacou, a small island of Grenada in the Caribbean on Monday morning. Winds as strong as 150 mph ripped off roofs, and heavy rains caused further damage that has yet to be assessed. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) continued its warning that the event is “extremely dangerous. This is a life-threatening situation” and urged residents to stay in shelters without leaving home until the storm passes. Thousands of people have taken refuge on the islands of Barbados, Grenada, Tobago and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where alerts remain in place.

In Grenada, authorities have received “reports of devastation” from Carriacou and surrounding islands, said the island’s national disaster coordinator Terence Walters. Premier Dickon Mitchell said he would travel to Carriacou as soon as it was safe, noting that there had been an “extensive” storm. Staff had to move patients to lower floors after the roof of a Grenada hospital was damaged. “There is the potential for even greater damage,” the prime minister said in a statement to reporters, according to the AP agency. “We have no choice but to continue praying,” he added.

The NHC expects Beryl to continue as a major hurricane on its path toward the Caribbean in the coming days. Severe hurricane warnings are in place for Haiti and the Dominican Republic and warnings are in place for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Forecasters warn that areas where Beryl makes landfall could receive life-threatening storm surges of up to 9 feet, with 3 to 6 inches of rain in Barbados and nearby islands and possibly up to 10 inches in some areas, particularly Grenada and the Grenadines. The storm is expected to weaken slightly over the Caribbean Sea, which would still carry it as a hurricane toward the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

Beryl is the most intense hurricane to pass through the region since data began to be recorded and the NHC had already warned of the impending danger: “Act now to protect your life,” it warned this Monday on its X account (formerly Twitter). The center warned that the Windward Islands are expected to experience potentially destructive hurricane-force winds, potentially deadly storm surges and dangerous waves. The greatest danger was expected for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, but the forecast extends to all the islands of the archipelago, where heavy rains and flooding are expected.

According to The Weather Channel, “The storm will fluctuate in strength over the next few hours, but it is expected to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane.”

Messages of warnings and recommendations for island residents to take shelter abounded on social media and weather channels. The storm is moving at 20 mph and “we have to remind ourselves to never go out in the eye of the hurricane, because it’s a matter of minutes, not hours, before they reach us,” Rick Nabb, a hurricane expert, said on The Weather Channel.

Beryl is the first Category 4 hurricane of this season, which began on June 1 and ended in the Atlantic on November 20. The tropical storm activated the alarm on Sunday, when it reached Category 4. As the hours passed, it dropped to Category 3, but regained strength on Monday morning to become a hurricane of devastating magnitude.

A storm for history

Even before it hit, experts were considering it historic. A storm of this category has never been seen before so early in the year. They explain that this anomaly is the result of the warming of the oceans. Environmental organization Greenpeace confirmed on its X account: “We have never seen such a powerful storm so early” and blamed large oil and gas corporations for “worsening climate disasters”.

The last major hurricane to hit the southeastern Caribbean was Hurricane Ivan 20 years ago, which killed dozens in Grenada.

Officials on some southeastern Caribbean islands warned that controlled power outages and water cuts could occur in the wake of the storm, urging people to seek shelter. Landslides and flash floods were expected, and schools, airports and government offices were closed.

Forecasts predict that this will be a very intense hurricane season. 23 intense tropical storms and 11 hurricanes are expected, five of which will be of super intensity. Beryl is already confirming this.

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