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Hurricane Beryl regains strength as it approaches Mexico

Hurricane Beryl restrengthened to a Category 3 storm Thursday as it approached the Yucatán Peninsula and Mexico, bringing damaging winds and a storm surge of up to 5 feet, forecasters said.

The hurricane is already blamed in nine deaths in the Windward Island nations of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Venezuela and Jamaica. It caused severe damage to many homes in Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, officials there said.

The Yucatán Peninsula was under a hurricane warning and was expected to start getting hurricane-force winds overnight and into Friday.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said landfall is projected for Tulum and urged people to move to higher ground or shelter elsewhere.

“Let’s not hesitate, material things can be recovered. The most important thing is life,” he said on X on Thursday night.

The storm had weakened Thursday to a Category 2 but restrengthened later to Category 3, and by 10 pm. it had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph.

Hurricane warnings covered the coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula from Puerto Costa Maya to Cancún, including the island of Cozumel, the hurricane center said.

Landfall is projected for Friday morning, but damaging winds and powerful waves produced by the large storm will hit the peninsula before then, forecasters said.

The storm is expected to weaken after landfall. It is forecast to go out into the Gulf of Mexico on Friday night and then to regain some strength. It will then move toward northeastern Mexico or southern Texas, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Beryl’s formation and strength set records. Scientists say the process of rapid intensification is becoming more common as climate change increases sea surface temperatures.

It was the first Category 4 hurricane on record to form in June and the earliest Category 4 storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. Before Beryl, Hurricane Dennis was the earliest, having formed on July 8, 2005.

When Beryl strengthened to a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 165 mph this week, it became the strongest hurricane ever recorded in July.

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