As Caribbean Nations Recover from Hurricane Beryl, Mexicans Brace for Impact

Philipp Kreis
Philipp Kreis
Philipp is an international security expert and journalist with a master's focus on intelligence and global risks. With work experience in the German and European Parliament, his expertise spans nuclear weapons proliferation, naval power, and peacebuilding across Europe, Latin America, and the Indo-Pacific.

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Hurricane Beryl is the earliest recorded hurricane to develop into a category-five storm. After devastating parts of Venezuela, Jamaica, and Grenada, the storm lost most of its destructive force before its anticipated arrival in Mexico.

Beryl’s Past Trajectory

Beryl formed on June 28 in the Main Development Region, also known as “Hurricane Alley.” The area spans from Africa’s west coast to the east coast of Central America and the Gulf of Mexico and is characterized by its warm water compared to other parts of the Atlantic Ocean. As warm water evaporates, it condenses into clouds and releases latent heat upon encountering cooler air above. As the latent heat warms the surrounding air, it creates a cycle of rising hot air and falling cool air. The earth’s rotation spins the system that keeps attracting warm, moist air, thereby intensifying the storm. Climate change likely prompted Hurricane Beryl’s early formation. In order to form, hurricanes need a water surface temperature of at least 27 °C (80 °F). Therefore, current record temperatures allow hurricanes to form earlier and become more intense.

After its first landfall on the islands of Grenada on July 1, Beryl peaked with winds reaching 270 km/h (165 mph). There, it destroyed or damaged 98 percent of the nation’s 6,000 homes. Beryl went on to wreak havoc on parts of Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela’s northernmost Sucre province, where heavy rains affected about 25,000 people. The following day, 400,000 Jamaicans were left without electricity. A total of 21 casualties have been reported, and five people are still missing. The US, EU, Taiwan, and UN have pledged financial support.

Imagery of the Argyle community on Carriacou Island pictured in 2023 (Photo – Maxar Technologies)
The same community pictured on July 2, 2024, after Hurricane Beryl made landfall (Photo -Maxar Technologies)

Beryl’s Future Trajectory

Whereas the Cayman Islands dodged a direct hit with Beryl passing about 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the south of the islands, the hurricane is set to hit the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula on Friday, July 5, at 7:00 a.m. local time. Despite dropping to a category-two storm with winds between 154 and 177 km/h (96-110 mph), the Mexican provinces of Quintana Roo and Yucatan have taken precautionary measures. Having declared code orange of “moderate danger,” the provinces recommended that their citizens brace for thunder rains and seek temporary shelter. Mara Lezama, governor of Quintana Roo, urged travelers to reschedule their flights. Despite the moderate danger, many citizens and tourists become nervous when remembering the devastation, including eight casualties, caused by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. While predicted to approach Mexico’s main tourist areas at category two strength, Beryl is forecasted to lose much of its force over the weekend in the Gulf of Mexico before it arrives in northern Mexico and the southern United States.