Beryl forecast to become an 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 hurricane (2024)

Hurricane Beryl has become an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm as it inches closer to the Windward Islands, bringing life-threatening winds and storm surge to the Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday.

Beryl expanded its strength for two days, reaching Category 4 strength on a scale of 5 on Sunday before leveling off, the center said in a late-afternoon advisory.

With sustained winds of 130 mph, the storm was likely to be a destructive force through the early week as it aimed for a possible clash with Mexico's Yucatán peninsula around next weekend, according to the hurricane center.

"Fluctuations in strength are common in major hurricanes in conducive environments, and it is expected that Beryl will also fluctuate in strength for the next day or so," the center said in a separate forecast discussion."There is high confidence that Beryl will remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through landfall in the Windward Islands."

Its center is expected to move across the Windward Islands early Monday, with hurricane conditions, including heavy rain, expected Sunday evening, the agency said.

Beryl forecast to become an 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 hurricane (1)

The Windward Islands include St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Martinique. As of Sunday night, Beryl was about 200 miles southeast of Barbados with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. It was moving northwest at around 18 mph.

A U.S. hurricane warning is in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Tobago, where hurricane conditions are possible starting early Monday.

The government of Barbados began opening emergency shelters Sunday evening and ordered all businesses to close by 7 p.m. The Barbados Water Authority asked residents to store potable water as it would shut down water lines across the island Sunday night as a precaution, according to a statement.

The Barbados government said the center of the hurricane would travel 75 to 80 miles south of Barbados sometime Monday morning.

Government forecasters said the hurricane could pulse with renewed strength as it passes beneath Barbados, with winds associated with the storm projected to reach near 145 mph.

Flash flooding and hurricane-force winds are likely, the government said. Barbados officials also warned of a low pressure system behind Beryl that could become a tropical depression and affect the country Wednesday if it continues apace.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique, and tropical storm watches are in effect for Dominica and Trinidad, which could all experience tropical storm conditions Sunday night.

“Potentially catastrophic wind damage is expected where the eyewall of Beryl moves through portions of the Windward Islands, with the highest risk of the core in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada,” the hurricane center said.

Life-threatening storm surges may raise water levels by 6 to 9 feet above normal tide levels in the hurricane watch areas and bring destructive waves to the coast.

Three to 6 inches of rain is possible across Barbados and the Windward Islands on Sunday into Monday, which may cause flooding in some areas. Up to 10 inches of rain is possible in some areas, especially in the Grenadines.

St. Lucia Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre announced a national shutdown as a result of the hurricane warning that will go into effect Sunday 8:30 p.m. local time. He did not say when it will be lifted. Schools will remain closed Monday, and “employers are expected to cooperate,” he said.

In a Facebook post, the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority asked the public to “remain indoors and away from glass windows once tropical hurricane-force winds affect the area.”

“All persons should avoid entering the ocean. Failure to comply with this request puts human lives at risk, including those of our first responders,” the board said. The board also encouraged tourists to contact their airlines to schedule flights home.

The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force has canceled all police leave in preparation for Beryl.

“All officers are requested to report to the nearest police station by 6:00 p.m. today, Sunday, June 30, 2024,” it said on Facebook.

In Grenada, a state of emergency will go into effect at 7 p.m. Sunday and remain for a week, “unless earlier revoked,” Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said at a briefing.

The country’s National Disaster Management Agency encouraged the public to secure three days of nonperishable food and water as Beryl makes impact. Those in areas susceptible to storm surge were encouraged to move to one of the shelters opened across Grenada.

Mitchell warned the public that “this is not a drill.”

“We need to be calm, we need to pray, but most importantly we need to prepare,” Mitchell said.

All police leave has also been canceled in Grenada, and officers were asked to return to work, according to Mitchell.

Mirna Alsharif

Breaking news reporter

Dennis Romero

Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.

Freddie Clayton

,

Payton May

,

Michelle Acevedo

and

Tangni Noriega

contributed

.

Beryl forecast to become an 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 hurricane (2024)
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