Mexico on red alert as Hurricane Beryl crosses coast

Jose Cortes and Paola Chiomante |

Hurricane Beryl has moved on to Mexico after destroying homes in the Caribbean.
Hurricane Beryl has moved on to Mexico after destroying homes in the Caribbean.

Hurricane Beryl has hit in Mexico’s top tourist destinations, triggering a red alert in the region following its deadly trail of destruction across several Caribbean islands.

The category 2 storm, expected to bring with it a dangerous surge and potentially damaging waves, is packing winds up to 175km/h, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said, as it entered the northeast of Tulum in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Hurricane Beryl, the first of the 2024 Atlantic season, was at one point a category 5 storm, making it the earliest category 5 storm on record. 

A soldier patrols a Mexican beach as Hurricane Beryl approaches
Mexico’s civil protection agency issued a red alert and asked people to stay indoors. (EPA PHOTO)

This extraordinary storm season is believed by scientists to be fuelled by climate change.

Beryl is about 10km east of Tulum, a popular Mexican resort.

Hurricane conditions are affecting the Yucatan Peninsula, and a hurricane warning has been issued for the coast from Puerto Costa Maya to Cancun, including Cozumel.

Mexico’s civil protection agency has issued a red alert, signalling a maximum hazard threat. 

The agency has advised residents to remain in their homes or seek refuge in storm shelters.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador echoed this advice, urging those in the storm’s path to seek shelter. 

He emphasised the importance of prioritising life over material possessions in a social media post.

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Beryl lie in Clifton, Union Island
At least 11 people have died from Hurricane Beryl across the Caribbean and in northern Venezuela. (AP PHOTO)

In Quintana Roo, home to Cancun, Governor Mara Lezama posted a video of Tulum’s downtown showing strong winds and rain already affecting the region. 

He urged residents to take all necessary precautions as the storm’s impact is expected to be felt across the state.

Schools in Quintana Roo have been closed and the Mexico’s defense ministry has opened around 120 storm shelters in the area.

Before reaching Mexico, Hurricane Beryl wreaked havoc in the Caribbean. 

It swept through Jamaica, Grenada, St Vincent, the Grenadines, and northern Venezuela, claiming at least 11 lives, bringing down buildings and uprooting trees.

The death toll may rise as more information becomes available.

Several people repair a house destroyed by Hurricane Beryl in Jamaica
Jamaicans were “giving thanks” after having “escaped the worst” of the storm, the PM said. (AP PHOTO)

Hurricane Beryl is expected to weaken rapidly as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula, but is forecast to regain strength when it moves over the Gulf of Mexico. 

The NHC predicts that the storm will move towards northeastern Mexico and southern Texas towards the end of the weekend.

Hurricane Beryl led to the evacuation of around 3,000 tourists from Isla Mujeres, an island near Cancun, the island’s tourism director Jose Magana said. 

Many residents, including fishermen, have sought shelter in anticipation of the storm’s impact.

About 100 flights were cancelled at Cancun International Airport on Thursday, causing many tourists to rush to catch the last outgoing flights.

Mexico’s major oil platforms, which are primarily located in the southern Gulf of Mexico, are not expected to be affected or shut down, but oil projects in US waters to the north might be affected if the hurricane continues on its expected path.