Tropical Storm Beryl is poised to become the first hurricane of the season

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Tropical Storm Beryl is building momentum in the Atlantic Ocean, threatening to wallop a number of Caribbean islands as it develops into the first named hurricane of the season.

Forecasters say that the storm, which formed Friday night, has the potential to grow into a Category 3 storm during its move from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico in the coming days.

Beryl is expected to reach the Caribbean islands of Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and Martinique late on Sunday.

National Hurricane Center forecasters predict that by the time the storm reaches the Windward Islands – which are west of Barbados – there will be “hurricane-force” winds, “life-threatening” storm surge and heavy rainfall.

Beryl is the second named storm of the season after Tropical Storm Alberto, which made landfall in northeast Mexico on 20 June. The heavy rains of that storm killed four people.

Barbados’ meteorological service issued warnings of power outages and flash flooding, as the eye of the hurricane is expected to pass about 26 miles (45 km) south of the island.

The storm is expected to drop up to six inches (15cm) of rain on Caribbean islands including Barbados.

“The reality is that we are not in a position to know exactly what type of weather we are going to face, but we know we’re going to face some weather,” Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said Friday.

She’s expected to make another statement on Saturday evening.

Hurricane season, which runs from 1 June to 30 November, is predicted to be a busy one this year, according to forecasters.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its most startling warning to date about the current season. Forecasters said there could be up to 25 named storms in 2024.

Between eight and 13 of those storms could develop into hurricanes, NOAA said.

Anywhere from four to seven of those storms could strengthen into Category-3-plus hurricanes. That would be more than double the usual number.

If Tropical Storm Beryl continues on the trajectory some forecasters are predicting and it develops into a Category 3 storm, the second named storm of the 2024 season would be one of the earliest arrivals of one of the storms the NOAA warned of.

“It’s astonishing to see a forecast for a major (Category 3+) hurricane in June anywhere in the Atlantic, let alone this far east in the deep tropics,” Michael Lowry, a hurricane expert said on social media.

“Only 5 major (Category 3+) hurricanes have been recorded in the Atlantic before the first week of July. Beryl would be the sixth and earliest this far east in the tropical Atlantic.”

Source.- OEM

The Cancun Post