Beryl hits Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as Texas officials urge coastal residents to prepare

TULUM, Mexico (AP) — Beryl was beaten Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico Hurricane Katrina hit the resort town of Tulum on Friday, uprooting trees and knocking out power, and Texas officials urged coastal residents to prepare as the storm moves toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Beryl hit Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane but weakened to a tropical storm as it moved across the peninsula. The U.S. National Hurricane Center expects Beryl to regain strength once it re-emerges in the Pacific Ocean. warm water The Gulf of Mexico, where it is expected to head toward northern Mexico near the Texas border, is a flooded area. Tropical Storm Alberto Just a few weeks ago.

Beryl spread Destruction in JamaicaSt. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados this week after becoming the first storm to develop into a tropical storm. Category 5 hurricane In the Atlantic, three people were reported killed in Grenada, three in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, three in Venezuela, and two in Jamaica.

Mexican authorities had moved some tourists and residents from low-lying areas around the Yucatan Peninsula before the hurricane made landfall, but tens of thousands remained there to brave the expected strong winds and storm surge. Much of the area around Tulum is just a few meters above sea level.

The city was plunged into darkness as the storm knocked out power as it came ashore. Strong winds set off sirens in cars across the city. Wind and rain continued to batter the coastal city and surrounding areas Friday morning. Army brigades patrolled the streets of the tourist city, clearing downed trees and power lines.

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After seeing Beryl tear through the Caribbean, 37-year-old Lucia Najera Balcasa was among those who stocked up on food and hid in their homes.

“Thank God, we woke up this morning and everything was fine. The streets are a disaster, but here we clean them up,” she said.

Although no deaths or injuries were reported, nearly half of the city of Tulum remained without power, said Laura Velasquez, Mexico’s civil protection coordinator.

In Texas, some counties have already issued voluntary evacuation orders for low-lying areas. Along the Texas coast in Corpus Christi, city officials said they distributed 10,000 sandbags in less than two hours on Friday, depleting their stockpile.

“This is a tailored storm, and it’s still going strong,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said.

Patrick issued a preemptive disaster declaration for 39 counties, allowing local and state authorities to begin planning and contracting for a response.

Oil companies have begun moving employees away from oil platforms along the coast that could be in the storm’s path, said Nim Kidd, the state’s chief of emergency operations.

While many in the Yucatan Peninsula took a deep breath, Jamaica and other islands hit by the hurricane were still reeling. As of Friday morning, 55 percent of Jamaica was still without power and most of the country was without running water, according to government figures.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness pledged rapid relief to residents affected by Hurricane Beryl after visiting one of the island’s worst-hit areas, the southern parish of St. Elizabeth, on Thursday afternoon.

“I know some of you are experiencing discomfort and homelessness, and I want to assure you that the government will move as quickly as possible to provide you with the assistance you need,” he said.

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Mexican authorities said the storm’s center on Friday afternoon was about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of the town of Dzilam and was moving west-northwest at 15 mph (about 24 kph). Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (115 kph).

Before the storm hit Mexico, officials set up shelters in schools and hotels. As the winds began to whip up the beaches of Tulum on Thursday, officials in SUVs with loudspeakers drove across the sand, urging people to leave, and authorities evacuated beachfront hotels. sea ​​turtle eggs Until they were moved away from the storm-threatened shores.

Tourists also took precautions. Lara Marsters, 54, a psychotherapist from Boise, Idaho, visiting Tulum, said she filled empty water bottles from the tap.

“We will commit to staying in a safe place,” she said.

Earlier in the week, the hurricane damaged or destroyed 95 percent of homes on two islands in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, wreaked havoc on fishing boats in Barbados, and ripped roofs off homes and knocked out power in Jamaica.

On Union Island, part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a man who identified himself as Captain Baga described the storm’s impact, including how he filled two 2,000-gallon (7,570-litre) rubber water tanks in preparation.

“I tied it tight on six sides; and I watched the wind lift those tanks and carry them away — full of water,” he said Thursday. “I’m a sailor and I never believed that the wind could do what I saw it do. If anyone had ever told me that the wind could do that, I would have told them they were lying!”

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The island was littered with the wreckage of houses that looked like they had exploded.

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Myers reported from Kingston, Jamaica. Associated Press reporters Renloye Trail in Kingston, Jamaica; Mark Stevenson and Megan Ganetsky in Mexico City; Coral Murphy-Marcos in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Lucanus Olivier in Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and Jim Vertuno in Austin, Texas, contributed reporting.

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