Hurricane Beryl strengthens to Category 3 as it heads toward Yucatan Peninsula

Hurricane Beryl has strengthened to a Category 3 as it heads toward the Yucatan Peninsula, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Data from the Air Force reconnaissance aircraft indicated that Beryl has maximum sustained winds of 115 mph.

It is currently about 160 miles away from Tulum, Mexico.

Earlier in the day, Beryl had weakened to a Category 2 storm after leaving flooding and widespread damage on the island of Jamaica late Wednesday.

Beryl’s center passed just 45 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica, as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph.

Beryl was the first major hurricane — at least a Category 3 — to pass this close to Jamaica since 2007.

PHOTO: Floodwaters pour onto the street as Hurricane Beryl passes through the area on July 3, 2024, in Kingston, Jamaica. Beryl has caused widespread damage in several island nations as it continues to cross the Caribbean.

Floodwaters pour onto the street as Hurricane Beryl passes through the area on July 3, 2024, in Kingston, Jamaica. Beryl has caused widespread damage in several island nations as it continues to cross the Caribbean.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

PHOTO: Sea waves break as Hurricane Beryl approaches, as seen from the Caribbean Terrace neighborhood in Kingston, Jamaica, July 3, 2024.

Sea waves break as Hurricane Beryl approaches, as seen from the Caribbean Terrace neighborhood in Kingston, Jamaica, July 3, 2024.

Marco Bello/Reuters

The hurricane passed just south of the Cayman Islands Thursday morning, bringing hurricane-force winds and a storm surge that was forecast to possibly produce a water rise of 4 to 6 feet and half a foot of rain.

Beryl had been forecast to continue its slow weakening trend.

PHOTO: Tracking Beryl map

After making landfall in Grenada earlier this week, Beryl’s next landfall will likely be on the Yucatan Peninsula, where major resort areas such as Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum are under hurricane warnings. In Tulum, a mandatory curfew goes into effect at 4 p.m. local time due to the storm.

Beryl could be a Category 1 hurricane as it reaches the Mexican resorts, with 80 mph winds, a storm surge of up to 3 feet and up to 8 inches of rain. It is forecast to make landfall just south of Cancun on Friday morning.

By Friday evening, Beryl should cross into the southern Gulf of Mexico and weaken into a tropical storm.

As Beryl moves over the Gulf, in the direction of the U.S.-Mexico border, it could re-intensify back into a hurricane, with winds near 75 mph ahead of making landfall sometime Monday morning. Right now, it’s too soon to tell exactly where it will make landfall along the Gulf Coast, but models are currently predicting just south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

PHOTO: Tracking Beryl map

Regardless of Beryl’s strength, it is expected to bring heavy rain to southern Texas and could produce coastal flooding on the Texas Gulf Coast, from Galveston to South Padre Island, and the Florida Panhandle.

In addition, the prolonged period of onshore winds along the U.S. Gulf Coast could create rough beach conditions, including a risk for rip currents this holiday weekend.

Jamaica assessing damage

Damage has been reported primarily in southwestern Jamaica after Beryl battered the island, officials said.

“Jamaica was spared the worst of Hurricane Beryl, but the damages are still significant,” Prime Minister Andrew Holness said on social media.

About half of the island is still without power as of Thursday evening, according to a government official.

Jamaica Public Service said teams are conducting remote assessments and waiting for an all-clear from emergency management to conduct ground assessments and begin the restoration process.

PHOTO: Residents look at a damaged drain in Shooters Hill, Jamaica, in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl on July 4,2024.

Residents look at a damaged drain in Shooters Hill, Jamaica, in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl on July 4,2024.

Ricardo Makyn/AFP via Getty Images

PHOTO: A woman looks at a beach littered with trash at Bull Bay, Jamaica, in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl on July 4, 2024.

A woman looks at a beach littered with trash at Bull Bay, Jamaica, in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl on July 4, 2024.

Ricardo Makyn/AFP via Getty Images

One of the main cell providers in Jamaica — Digicel — has been down since the overnight hours and is working on network restoration.

The island’s three major airports closed on Tuesday as the storm approached, stranding travelers. Jamaica Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told ABC News Thursday that power outages have impacted the airports but that all three will be fully operational on Friday.

Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay reopened to customers at 6 p.m. local time Thursday. Guards at the airport told ABC News that the facility sustained some damage from the storm.

Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston said it plans to reopen Friday at 5 a.m. local time. It saw some minor damage from the storm, including a small section of the roof of the passenger boarding pier that blew off.

Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios will also reopen on Friday, according to Bartlett.

ABC News’ Faith Abubey contributed to this report.

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