Saturday, July 20, 2024

Hurricane Beryl Intensifies into ‘Extremely Dangerous’ Category 4 Storm As It Approaches Caribbean Islands



CNN

BerylThe first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season intensified into a very dangerous Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph on Sunday morning, heading toward the Windward Islands.

Beryl is now the first Category 4 hurricane on record in the Atlantic Ocean and the only Category 4 storm on record in June.

Tropical storm force winds are expected to reach the Windward Islands late Sunday or early Monday.

The early timing of the season’s first tornado is unusual, with the average date for the first tornado being August 11.

As of 11 a.m. ET, Beryl was east-southeast of Barbados about 355 miles west.

NOAA

Beryl is forecast to be a Category 4 hurricane by the time it reaches the Windward Islands.

“A life-threatening storm surge could raise water levels 6 to 9 feet above normal tide levels in coastal runoff areas that cause eye landslides in the hurricane warning area,” the NHC said. Bring large and destructive waves close to shore.

The storm was strengthening to 55 mph in the 24 hours prior to Sunday morning. The National Hurricane Center defines Rapid intensity Maximum sustained wind speeds will increase to 35 mph or more in 24 hours.

“We are forecasting rapid intensification, and expect Beryl to become a major hurricane before reaching places like Barbados and the Windward Islands, and continue to be a powerful hurricane as it moves into the eastern and central Caribbean during the week,” said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center. Director Mike Brennan told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on Saturday.

Residents in tornado warning areas should prepare for major storm impacts, Brennan said. Beryl brings the risk of heavy rainfall, destructive hurricane-force winds and dangerous storm surges and surges. The center said 3 to 6 inches of rain Sunday night and Monday could bring localized flooding across the Windward Islands.

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A hurricane warning is in effect for Barbados, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Tobago.

The hurricane is expected to drop 3 to 6 inches of rain across Barbados and the Windward Islands through Monday, the weather service said.

CNN Stormboat

Satellite view of Beryl on Saturday at 9pm ET.

Beryl is the largest hurricane in the Atlantic in 58 years – defined as a Category 3 or higher. According to Brennan, the storm’s rapid intensification during hurricane season is highly unusual. Tropical systems in the mid-Atlantic east of the Lesser Antilles in June are rare, particularly strong ones, and a few have done so. According to NOAA records.

Beryl is no early hurricane season: it is now the third-oldest major hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. The previous one was Hurricane Alma on June 8, 1996, followed by Hurricane Audrey, which reached major status on June 27, 1957.

The storm already holds the record for the most easterly hurricane to form in the tropical Atlantic in June, breaking the previous record set in 1933.

The central and eastern Atlantic traditionally become more active in August as ocean temperatures warm and have time for fuel-growing systems.

This year, however, the Atlantic basin saw higher than normal water temperatures and a lack of wind due to the transition from El Niño to La Niña, both of which fuel tropical growth.

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

Warmer waters in the Atlantic basin allow tropical storms and hurricanes to form at a much faster pace eastward, according to Brennan, allowing the storms to become more powerful and therefore more destructive earlier in the hurricane season. From June 1 to November 30.

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“These are ocean waters that you would normally see in August or September, but now we’re seeing them in late June,” Brennan said. “Before we get to what would be the traditional peak of the hurricane season, it’s the type that opens up the deep tropical Atlantic Ocean to form.”

Caribbean islands urge public to prepare ahead of hurricane

Authorities are urging residents to take precautions as Hurricane Beryl approaches and strengthens, with many Caribbean countries under hurricane watches and warnings.

Officials in Barbados say the island will feel the effects of the storm from Sunday night. Its weather service expects hurricane-force winds, 3 to 6 inches of rain, “dangerous” sea conditions and severe thunderstorms that could disrupt power utilities.

Home Affairs and Information Minister Wilfred Abrahams said, “All our normal preparations are in full swing to deal with a cyclone. “There is less than 48 hours until the effects of this system affect Barbados. Please use the time very wisely.

Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

A boarded-up building is seen in Bridgetown, Barbados on Saturday.

In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is warning that a Category 2 hurricane could hit the islands on Monday morning. The National Weather Service predicts winds of 74 to 110 mph or more and 4 to 6 inches of rain.

“Kingstown will be flooded once this hurricane hits its path,” said Mayor Gonsalves. “Typically, two inches of rain — sustained rain — will flood a city in a relatively short period of time. Four inches will undoubtedly flood a city.

In St Lucia, the government warns the storm could bring “moderate to heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds”. Premier Philip J. Pierre advises residents to make necessary preparations and review their family emergency plans.

In Grenada, the National Disaster Management Agency urges people to prepare by having disaster supplies kits, cutting trees and branches, cleaning drains and knowing where their emergency shelters are located.

Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

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

Early summer systems in this part of the Atlantic are a sign of an upcoming high-speed hurricane season. Research from Phil Klotzbach is a hurricane expert and research scientist at Colorado State University. In general, ocean temperatures in June and July are not warm enough to allow tropical systems to thrive.

National Weather Service Forecasters predicted Between 17 and 25 named storms this season become eight to 13 hurricanes, including four to seven major hurricanes.

“That’s above average,” Brennan noted.

The Weather Service says, “A confluence of factors, including record-warming ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, the development of La Niña conditions in the Pacific, decreased Atlantic trade winds and low atmospheric pressure, all favor tropical storm formation.”

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