Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Hurricane warning in effect for Quintana Roo; Yucatán on watch

National Civil Protection authorities have issued a yellow “moderate hazard” alert for Quintana Roo as Hurricane Beryl continues to barrel through the Caribbean on its path toward Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

Beryl, a Category 4 hurricane at midday Mexico City time with maximum sustained winds of 225 km/h, is forecast to reach the coast of Quintana Roo on Thursday night or Friday morning. The hurricane is expected to weaken before it arrives in Mexico, and will likely be downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves across the Yucatán Peninsula.

Quintana Roo is under a hurricane warning, while Yucatán and Campeche are under watch as Beryl approaches the peninsula.
Quintana Roo is under a hurricane warning, while Yucatán and Campeche are under watch as Beryl approaches the peninsula. (NOAA)

At 12 p.m., the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that the hurricane was about 70 kilometers south of Kingston, Jamaica.

Mexico’s National Civil Protection Coordination said on social media Wednesday morning that the yellow hurricane alert applies to all of Quintana Roo with the exception of the state’s west, where a green “low hazard” warning remains current.

A green alert is also in effect for the state of Yucatán and the north, east and center of Campeche.

Quintana Roo Governor Mara Lezama posted an infographic to social media that says that when a yellow alert is in effect people should:

  • Identify the nearest temporary refuge and the route to get there quickly.
  • Store food, drinking water and emergency supplies.
  • Place important documents in plastic bags.

The prior activation of the green alert prompted authorities to advise people to tape up windows, tie down items that could be tossed around by high winds, cut back tree limbs near power lines and make sure drains and sewers are not clogged.

The NHC noted that a hurricane warning is in effect from Puerto Costa Maya, in Mahahual, to Cancún, on the northern coast of Quintana Roo.

A hurricane watch is in effect south of Puerto Costa Maya to state capital Chetumal, and north of Cancún to Cabo Catoche, the northernmost point of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The Quintana Roo government has ordered the evacuation of the nearby island of Holbox, and of Punta Allen, a village in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

The government said in a statement that Beryl is expected to approach the coast of Quintana Roo as a Category 2 hurricane.

“According to what is forecast, it’s expected that the impact on Quintana Roo will be Thursday night or early Friday morning,” the government said.

National Civil Protection Chief Laura Velázquez said that the hurricane is expected to make landfall along a stretch of sparsely populated coast south of the tourist town of Tulum.

After weakening over the Yucatán Peninsula, the storm could strengthen as it moves across the Gulf of Mexico. Velázquez said that Beryl is expected to make landfall for a second time in Mexico, either in Veracruz or Tamaulipas.

On Tuesday, Governor Lezama announced that all schools in Quintana Roo will be closed on Thursday and Friday, and advised citizens that a “dry law” suspending the sale of alcohol will take effect Thursday.

On Wednesday, the governor stressed that safety was the government’s top priority.

“What’s most important for us is you, the citizens, and I want to tell you that in every corner of Quintana Roo you are not alone,” Lezama said.

She said that people evacuating Holbox will be provided with free transport to Kantunilkín, the largest town in the municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas, and assistance to reach “a safe place.”

Evacuations from the island will commence early Thursday.

Beryl brings dangerous conditions to Jamaica

CNN reported Wednesday afternoon that Hurricane Beryl was tracking just south of Jamaica.

Citing information from the NHC, the news outlet said the storm is slightly too far south to make landfall in Jamaica, but is “still unloading powerful wind and torrential rain on the island.”

CNN also said that the hurricane has killed at least seven people in the Caribbean and damaged homes and buildings.

Beryl is the second named storm of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, and became the first Category 5 storm ever to form in the Atlantic Ocean in the month of June.

It made landfall Monday on Carriacou, a small island that is part of the country of Grenada.

Beryl will be the third named Atlantic storm to affect Mexico this hurricane season.

Tropical Storm Alberto brought torrential rains across large swaths of the Yucatán Peninsula and northeastern Mexico in June, while Tropical Storm Chris made landfall in the municipality of Vega de Alatorre, Veracruz, earlier this week.

With reports from La Jornada, El Universal, AP and CNN

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