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Beryl Nears Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula With Hurricane Winds

(Bloomberg) — Hurricane Beryl approached Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula after sweeping through the Caribbean, bringing strong winds, dangerous storm surge and heavy rain.

Beryl is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of Tulum, with maximum sustained winds near 110 miles per hour, the US National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin. Hurricane warnings are in effect along an area dubbed the Mayan Riviera for its touristy beaches and ruins, with alerts stretching from Costa Maya port to Cancun, including the island of Cozumel.

Local authorities have evacuated residents from communities along the storm’s path. Tulum airport suspended operations and Cancun’s airport canceled flights, according to local media outlet El Universal. School was canceled in the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, Laura Velázquez Alzúa, Mexico’s national coordinator for civil protection, said at a press briefing Thursday.

Beryl may weaken while crossing the Yucatan Peninsula, but slowly re-intensify when it moves into the Gulf of Mexico, according to the NHC advisory. The storm is forecast to churn northwest across the gulf on Saturday, and then move toward northeast Mexico and southern Texas by the end of the weekend.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged people to take cover.

Beryl has already left a trail of destruction through the Caribbean, and earlier this week its winds topped the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, achieving a rare Category 5 strength. It was the earliest Atlantic storm to do so, signaling an unusually active hurricane season as hot ocean waters fuel tropical systems. The storm weakened after sweeping westward past Grenada and Jamaica, but still left widespread damage.

Cleanup and recovery efforts began in Jamaica on Thursday after Beryl churned just south of the island, causing at least one death and knocking out power to about 60% of the population. The country’s airports are being assessed to see when they can be reopened, but the Jamaica Observer reported that part of the roof at Norman Manley International Airport had been damaged.

The government of the Cayman Islands lifted its hurricane warning as Beryl passed on Thursday. Royal Navy warship HMS Trent will be arriving at the British Overseas Territory this weekend with bottled water and emergency supplies, but all indications suggest the Caymans were spared the worst of the storm.

Meanwhile, the threat to Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production is diminishing as the path of the storm spares major drilling areas and platforms in US federal waters, according to data from the hurricane center and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Major platforms including Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Hoover, Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s Boomvang and Shell Plc’s Perdido, which were in the path Wednesday, are now clear.

–With assistance from Robert Tuttle, Brian K. Sullivan, Maya Averbuch, Dan Murtaugh and Shoko Oda.

(Updates with latest wind speed and location in second paragraph.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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