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Hurricane Beryl nears Caribbean islands, becomes “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm

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The National Hurricane Center said over the weekend that Hurricane Beryl has become an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm as it heads towards the Windward Islands, bringing life-threatening winds and storm surge to the Caribbean.

Per CBS News, Beryl was located about 310 miles east-southeast of Barbados with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and was moving west at 21 mph. Beryl strengthened into a category 4 Sunday afternoon and is expected to continue to strengthening as it travels west across the Atlantic.  As its center moves across the Windward Islands early Monday, it will bring hurricane conditions including heavy rainfall, before traveling through the southeastern Caribbean on Monday night and Tuesday.

Hurricane warnings are already in effect in Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Tobago. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Martinique, while a tropical storm watch is in effect in Dominica and Trinidad. The National Hurricane Center said that ‘this is a very serious situation developing for the Windward Islands,’ adding that Beryl was “forecast to bring life-threatening winds and storm surge … as an extremely dangerous hurricane.”

It took Beryl only 42 hours to strengthen from a tropical depression to a major hurricane — a feat accomplished only six other times in Atlantic hurricane history. According to the National Hurricane Center, two hurricane hunters were en route to the storm to gather more details about its intensity.  Beryl is now only the third Category 3 hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic in June, and is the second named storm in what is predicted to be a busy hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 in the Atlantic.

Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley said in a public address: “We need to be ready. You and I know when these things happen, it is better to plan for the worst and pray for the best .. do not let your guard down.”  St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said in a public address that shelters will open Sunday evening as he urged people to prepare: “please take this very seriously and prepare yourselves. This is a terrible hurricane.”

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