Hurricane Beryl is expected to become a “dangerous” major storm as it approaches the Caribbean.


berylThe hurricane, the first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season, is rapidly intensifying as it heads toward Barbados and the Windward Islands, bringing damaging hurricane-force winds and life-threatening storm surge.

The National Hurricane Center says Beryl is expected to become a “dangerous major hurricane” when it reaches the Windward Islands Sunday or Monday night. The early timing of the first hurricane this season is unusual, given that the average date of the first hurricane is August 11.

The hurricane center said in a 2 a.m. ET update that Hurricane Beryl is located about 530 miles east-southeast of Barbados, moving west at 20 mph. It is expected to bring life-threatening winds and damaging storm surges beginning Sunday night.

“Devastating wind damage is expected as Beryl’s eyewall moves across parts of the Windward Islands.” National Hurricane Center He said. “Life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels up to 5 to 7 feet above normal tidal levels in overland flow areas near where Beryl makes landfall in hurricane warning and watch areas.”

The hurricane’s strength increases rapidly, with wind speeds increasing from 35 mph to 75 mph in less than 24 hours. Rapid intensification is defined as an increase in wind speed of 35 mph or more in a 24-hour period. According to a 2 a.m. ET update from the Hurricane Center, Beryl’s maximum sustained winds are about 90 mph with stronger gusts.

“We expect rapid intensification and we expect Beryl to become a major hurricane before it reaches places like Barbados and the Windward Islands and continue to be a powerful hurricane as it moves into the eastern and central Caribbean as we enter the early parts of next week,” Mike Brennan, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center, told CNN.

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A major hurricane is classified as a Category 3 or higher with the potential to cause “significant loss of life and damage.”

Brennan said residents in places where tornado warnings have been issued should be prepared for the impacts of major storms. Beryl brings the risk of heavy rains, damaging hurricane-force winds, storm surge, and dangerous waves. Rain totals of 3 to 6 inches could lead to localized flooding throughout the Windward Islands Sunday night and Monday, according to the center.

Hurricane warnings are Valid in BarbadosSt. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada. Tropical storm warnings have also been issued for Martinique and Tobago, and a tropical storm alert has been issued for Dominica.

“Interests in the Central and Western Caribbean should monitor the progress of this system,” the National Health Centre warned on Saturday.

CNN Stormbot

Satellite view of Beryl at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Brennan said Hurricane Beryl’s rapid intensification is very unusual this early in the hurricane season. Tropical systems in the mid-Atlantic east of the Lesser Antilles in June are rare, especially strong systems, with only a few occurring. According to records from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The central and eastern Atlantic typically become more active in August, in part because ocean temperatures have time to warm and feed developing systems.

However, this year the Atlantic basin has seen higher than normal water temperatures and less wind shear due to the transition from an El Niño to a La Niña season, both of which fuel tropical development.

“Beryl found an environment with very warm ocean water for this time of year,” Brennan said.

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Brennan said warmer waters in the Atlantic Basin have given tropical storms and hurricanes the opportunity to develop at a faster pace in a more easterly setting, allowing storms to become more powerful and thus more destructive early in the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

“This is ocean water that you normally see in August or September, but now we’re seeing it in late June,” Brennan said. “It kind of opens up more of the depths of the tropical Atlantic to formation before we get to what would be the traditional peak of hurricane season.”

Caribbean Islands Urge Public to Prepare for Hurricane

Authorities are urging residents to take precautions as several Caribbean countries are under hurricane watches and warnings as Hurricane Beryl approaches and gains strength.

Officials in Barbados say the island is expected to feel the effects of the storm early Sunday evening. The weather service is forecasting gusty winds, 3 to 6 inches of rain, “dangerous” sea conditions and severe thunderstorms that could knock out power.

Interior and Information Minister Wilfred Abrahams said in a statement: “All our regular preparations to confront the hurricane are in full swing.” “We have less than 48 hours until we expect to see the effects of this system on Barbados. Please use your time very wisely.

Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

A closed building in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Saturday.

In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves warned that the storm could hit the islands by Monday morning as a Category 2 hurricane. The weather service expects strong winds of 74 to 110 mph or more and rainfall of 4 to 6 inches.

“Kingstown will be flooded once this hurricane is on its way,” Gonsalves said of the capital. “Normally, sustained rain of two inches – over a relatively short period of time – would flood the city. Four inches would undoubtedly flood the city.”

In Saint Lucia, the government warned that the storm could bring “heavy rain, thunderstorms and gusty winds” to the region. Prime Minister Philippe J. Pierre advised residents to make necessary preparations and review their families’ emergency plans.

In Grenada, the National Disaster Management Agency is also urging residents to prepare by getting disaster supply kits, trimming trees and overhanging branches, clearing drains, and knowing where their emergency shelters are.

Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

Cars line up at a gas station Saturday in Bridgetown, Barbados, as Hurricane Beryl approaches.

Systems forming early in the summer in this part of the Atlantic are a sign of a hyperactive hurricane season to come, according to Search from Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane expert and research scientist at Colorado State University. Typically, ocean temperatures are not warm enough in June and July to help tropical systems thrive.

National Weather Service Meteorologists expect This season is expected to see 17 to 25 named storms, eight to 13 of which will become hurricanes, including four to seven major hurricanes.

“This is well above average,” Brennan noted.

The weather service says this is “due to a combination of factors, including near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic, developing La Niña conditions in the Pacific, reduced Atlantic trade winds, and reduced wind shear, all of which tend to favor the tropics.” . Storm formation.”

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