Hurricane Beryl Forces Postponement of CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

News Americas, New York, NY, July 1, 2024: As the dangerous Category Four Hurricane Beryl roared through the Windward Islands Monday, delivering violent winds, intense rainfall, and life-threatening storm surges, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) postponed its 47th Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government, originally scheduled for Grenada from July 3-5.

Sea water splashes on the rocks as hurricane Beryl passes near to Bridgetown, Barbados on July 1, 2024. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Beryl made landfall shortly after 11:00 a.m. EDT today on Carriacou Island in the Grenadines, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. The storm triggered power outages, flooded streets, and caused storm surge flooding in parts of the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, and Tobago, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“The primary focus of the Community is now on citizen safety and security. Several Member States, including host nation Grenada, are now engaged in emergency preparations and planning to address the aftermath of the hurricane,” CARICOM said in a statement. “We implore everyone in the path of this hurricane to take all necessary protective measures. The Community stands ready to support our Member States which will be affected by this dangerous hurricane.”

Beryl is the strongest known hurricane to pass through this region, according to data from NOAA that dates back to 1851. Its arrival marks an exceptionally early start to the Atlantic hurricane season. On Sunday, it became the earliest Category 4 on record in the Atlantic Ocean and the only Category 4 in the month of June. The unusually warm ocean waters that facilitated Beryl’s rapid strengthening indicate that this hurricane season will be far from normal in a world warming due to fossil fuel pollution.

“Beryl is breaking records for June because the ocean is as warm now as it would normally be at the peak of hurricane season,” said Jim Kossin, a hurricane expert and science advisor at nonprofit First Street Foundation.