Update: Beryl Rakes Mexico’s Yucatan With Hurricane Winds and Heavy Rain

By and Peter Millard | July 5, 2024

Hurricane Beryl pummeled Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula with tree-toppling gusts and flooding rains, weakening slightly as it came ashore after leaving a trail of destruction through the Caribbean this week.

Beryl’s top winds dropped to 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour after it made landfall just northeast of Tulum with 110 mph winds, the US National Hurricane center said in an 8 a.m. New York time advisory. The storm remains at Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. 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 canceled flights, according to local media outlet El Universal. School was canceled in the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, Laura Velázquez Alzúa, Mexico’s national coordinator for civil protection, said at a press briefing Thursday.

While Beryl will weaken to a tropical storm as it crosses the Yucatan, it is expected to get stronger once it re-emerges into the southern Gulf of Mexico late Friday, possibly even regaining hurricane strength before making a second landfall in northern Mexico or southern Texas near Brownsville early Monday, the hurricane center said.

AccuWeather is currently calling for Beryl to hit northern Mexico or southern Texas as a Category 1 hurricane between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. local time on Monday, said Tyler Roys, a meteorologist for the commercial forecaster. However, the storm’s track has been drifting north, which could give it a chance to stay over warm Gulf waters longer and therefore get stronger.

“It would not shock me if there is further intensification,” Roys said. “Right now we are with Category 1, but if the trend continues and the track sneaks a little further north, there could potentially be more funny business going on with intensification. It is something we are watching.”

The other potential danger is that Beryl could bring heavy rains across eastern Texas, an area that was already drenched earlier this year, leaving the ground saturated, he said. The flood risks for the region may be high.

Storms have been known to wither and die after crossing the Yucatan, but they can also gain a deadly burst of strength. Hurricane Harvey exploded into a Category 4 storm in 2017 after nearly being destroyed traversing the peninsula.

It’s still too early to say exactly where Beryl will make its second landfall, Philippe Papin, a specialist at the hurricane center, wrote in an analysis. “The average NHC track error at day 3 is around 100 miles,” he said. “It remains too soon to pinpoint where the largest impacts will be.”

Beryl has already hammered the Caribbean, and earlier this week it achieved a rare Category 5 strength. It was the earliest Atlantic storm to do so, signaling an unusually active hurricane season as hot ocean waters fuel tropical systems. The storm lost some of its power after sweeping westward past Grenada and Jamaica, but still left widespread damage.

Photo: The Mexican Army and National Guard evacuate residents on July 4.Photographer: Victoria Razo/Bloomberg


Topics Catastrophe Natural Disasters Hurricane Mexico

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