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Hurricane Beryl leaves major damage in Jamaica and hits Mexico and Texas

(NEW YORK) — Hurricane Beryl weakened to a Category 3 storm on Thursday, but not before leaving behind flooding and widespread destruction on the island of Jamaica late Wednesday.

The center of Beryl passed just 72 kilometers south of Kingston, Jamaica, as a Category 4 hurricane with wind speeds of 225 km/h.

Beryl was the first major hurricane (at least Category 3) to pass so close to Jamaica since 2007.

By Thursday morning, Beryl had weakened to a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph (185 km/h) as it approached the Cayman Islands.

The hurricane is expected to pass just south of the Cayman Islands on Thursday morning, bringing hurricane-force winds and a storm surge that could cause 4 to 6 feet of water to rise and 4 feet of rain to fall.

Beryl is expected to make landfall next on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, where hurricane warnings are in effect for major vacation areas such as Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum.

Beryl could be a Category 1 hurricane when it hits the Mexican resorts with winds of 80 mph, a storm surge of up to 3 feet and up to 8 inches of rain. It is expected to make landfall south of Tulum around 5 a.m. ET Friday morning.

By Friday evening, Beryl is expected to move into the southern Gulf of Mexico and weaken to a tropical storm.

As Beryl moves across the Gulf toward the U.S.-Mexico border, it could re-strengthen into a hurricane with winds of 75 mph before making landfall sometime Monday morning. Right now, it's too early to say exactly where it will make landfall on the Gulf Coast, as models predict it will make landfall just south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Regardless of Beryl's strength, it is expected to bring heavy rains to southern Texas and could cause flooding along the Texas Gulf Coast – from Galveston to South Padre Island – and in the Florida Panhandle.

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

Jamaica assesses the damage

Damage was reported in southern Jamaica after Beryl devastated the island.

At the height of the storm, hundreds of thousands – about 65% – of customers were without power. Jamaica Public Service said teams were assessing the situation remotely and awaiting an all-clear from the Civil Protection Agency to assess the situation on the ground and begin restoration.

One of Jamaica's largest mobile phone providers, Digicel, has been down since last night and work is currently underway to restore the network.

The island's three largest airports closed on Tuesday as the storm approached, leaving travelers stranded. Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston announced it would reopen at 5 a.m. local time on Friday. The storm caused some minor damage, including a small portion of the passenger pier's roof being blown away.

Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay has not yet reopened. Airport staff told ABC News that the facility had sustained some damage and would also reopen at 5 a.m. local time on Friday.

It is unclear when the Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios will reopen.

Faith Abubey of ABC News contributed to this report.

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