Hurricane Beryl: At least four dead as 'monstrous' storm heads towards Jamaica

At least four people have died after Hurricane Beryl made landfall in the southeastern Caribbean - with the storm now heading towards Jamaica.

It comes after the "monstrous" weather system slammed into islands including Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados on Monday.

Widespread damage to homes and business has been reported, along with power cuts and other disruption.

The hurricane was upgraded to a category five storm on Tuesday and is currently sweeping west across the Caribbean Sea.

Winds of up to 165mph were reported in the region just south of the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.

Forecasters expect Beryl to lose some of its intensity by the time it passes Jamaica on Wednesday and the Cayman Islands on Thursday, although it is still likely to bring potentially life-threatening strong winds and rain.

The prime minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness said in an address to the nation: "I am encouraging all Jamaicans to take the hurricane as a serious threat. It is, however, not a time to panic."

The storm is predicted to reach Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Friday, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

It is the earliest time of the year that a category four or five storm has ever formed in the Atlantic, fuelled by unusually warm waters, officials said.

Three people were reported killed on Grenada's smaller islands, with Carriacou and Petit Martinique suffering the brunt of the damage.

They included a person who died after a tree fell on their house, the government said.

Grenada's Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell described the situation on Carriacou as "grim" and said emergency teams were on their way.

He told a news conference on Tuesday: "There is no power, and there is almost complete destruction of homes and buildings on the island.

"The roads are not passable, and in many instances they are cut off because of the large quantity of debris strewn all over the streets."

He added: "The possibility that there may be more fatalities remains a grim reality as movement is still highly restricted."

A spokesperson for the Grenada Tourism Authority said its main island had "thankfully largely escaped" the effects of the hurricane and said its international airport had reopened on Tuesday.

They added: "However, we're deeply saddened by the widespread damage and news of fatalities on our sister islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

"We are working closely with the emergency services to ensure support and relief efforts are in place as soon as possible, as well as the restoration of vital services."

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Another person also died in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The country's Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves vowed to rebuild the archipelago in a statement on Tuesday.

He said around 90% of homes on Union Island had been destroyed, and that "similar levels of devastation" had likely occurred on the islands of Myreau and Canouan.

The last strong hurricane to hit the southeast Caribbean was Hurricane Ivan 20 years ago, which killed dozens of people in Grenada.

Hurricane Beryl has already broken several records, including when it formed the farthest east for a storm of its kind in the tropical Atlantic in June.

Scientists have said climate change has made more intense, and earlier, storms more likely.