Beryl became an 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 hurricane with life-threatening conditions expected in the Caribbean

The National Hurricane Center said Sunday that Hurricane Barrell has become an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm as it grows an inch near the Windward Islands, packing deadly winds and storm surges across the Caribbean.

Barrel strengthened to a Category 4 on Sunday afternoon and is expected to continue to strengthen as it travels west across the Atlantic.

Its center is expected to move into the Windward Islands early Monday, the agency said, with storm conditions expected to increase, including heavy rain Sunday evening.

A strengthening tropical storm barreled over the NOAA satellite on Saturday morning.NOAA / USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters

The Windward Islands include Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Martinique. As of Sunday morning, Barrel was about 355 miles east-southeast of Barbados with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. It is moving west at about 21 mph.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Tobago, where hurricane conditions are possible beginning Monday morning. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique and tropical storm watches are in effect for Dominica and Trinidad, all of which could experience tropical storm conditions Sunday night.

“Potentially catastrophic wind damage is expected where Beryl's eyewall passes through parts of the Windward Islands, with the primary threat in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada,” the hurricane center said.

Deadly storm surges can raise water levels in hurricane watch areas by 6 to 9 feet above normal tide levels and can carry destructive waves ashore.

A total of 3 to 6 inches of rain is possible Sunday through Monday in Barbados and the Windward Islands, which could cause flooding in some areas. Up to 10 inches of rain is possible in some areas, particularly the Grenadines.

The Saint Lucia Tourism Board has announced a national shutdown as a result of the hurricane warning which will take effect from 8:30pm local time on Sunday and will not be lifted “until all clear”.

“During this time, please stay indoors and away from glass windows when tropical storm-force winds affect the area,” the tourism board said in a Facebook post. “All persons should refrain from entering the ocean. Failure to comply with this request puts human lives at risk, including those of our first responders.”

The board also encouraged tourists to contact their airlines to schedule flights home.

The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force has canceled all police holidays in preparation for the barrel.

“All officers are requested to report to the nearest police station today, Sunday, June 30, 2024 by 6:00 p.m.,” the force said on Facebook.

Prime Minister Dickin Mitchell said during a briefing that in Grenada, a state of emergency would come into effect from 7pm on Sunday and last for a week, “unless earlier lifted”.

The country's National Disaster Management Agency encouraged the public to store three days worth of non-perishable food and water to last as the barrel takes effect. Those in areas most affected by the storm were encouraged to move to one of the shelters opened in Granada.

“This is not a drill,” Mitchell warned the public.

“We need to stay calm, we need to pray, but most importantly we need to prepare,” Mitchell said.

All police holidays in Grenada have also been canceled and officers have been told to return to work, according to Mitchell.

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