Hurricane Beryl kills 5 and weakens as it heads for Jamaica

Hurricane Beryl weakened slightly to a Category 4 storm as it headed toward Jamaica after killing at least five people and causing massive destruction in the southeastern Caribbean.

The rare early-season powerful hurricane was expected to pass near Jamaica as a "near major" storm bringing life-threatening winds, storm surge, rain and flash flooding, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the island nation, according to the NHC.

According to the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, preparations for landfall are underway in Jamaica, with emergency shelters being stocked in Montego Bay and construction sites secured in Kingston.

"I urge all Jamaicans to stock up on food, batteries, candles and water. Secure your important documents and remove any trees or objects that may endanger your property," Prime Minister Andrew Holness said in an X, previously on Twitter.

Hurricane warnings have been issued in the Cayman Islands and public playgrounds have been closed in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, as a precaution as the storm is expected to pass south of the country on Tuesday.

But in other areas of the Caribbean, the damage had already been done - at least three people had died in Grenada, one in St Vincent and the Grenadines and one in Venezuela, officials said. | BGNES