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Hurricane Beryl

Hurricane Beryl is forming far earlier than usual. Image: NOAA

The Inertia

Hurricane season got an early start this year. Beryl, the first named hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, looks like it’s going to make a dent.

Technically, the Atlantic hurricane season starts at the beginning of June, but storms don’t generally gain enough steam to become named hurricanes by August. Beryl, though, sucked up enough energy to become a Category 3 hurricane on Friday, June 28.

By Sunday, Beryl became a Category 4 hurricane, which, according to reports, made it the earliest Cat 4 Atlantic hurricane since we began keeping track of them.

It has, as of this writing, been downgraded back to a Category 3 hurricane, but that’s still not anything to scoff at. “Beryl is forecast to remain a powerful hurricane as it moves across the Caribbean Sea later this week,” the National Hurricane Center wrote. “A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Jamaica, where hurricane conditions are expected on Wednesday. A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the south coast of Hispaniola, and a Hurricane Watch is in effect for all of the Cayman Islands and the southwestern peninsula of Haiti.”

Hurricane Beryl

Hurricane Beryl, making its way into the Caribbean. Credit: NOAA

On Tuesday, Beryl had maximum sustained winds of around 120 miles per hour, which is enough to cause serious damages. Roofs can be torn from homes and trees can be plucked from the ground at windspeeds that high. Water levels could be driven to up to 9 feet above normal due to the the anticipated storm surge.

The latest data has shown the storm has maximum sustained winds of around 195 kilometers per hour (120 miles per hour), the strength of which is capable of uprooting trees and majorly damaging even well-built homes.

“Shelter in place or evacuate to a safe location if your home is unsafe or vulnerable to flooding or wind damage,” warned the Trinidad & Tobago Meteorological Service early Monday morning. “Secure food, water and medicine for at least seven days in waterproof containers. Outdoor drains should be clear and loose objects secured by now. Sandbags should be near all entrances to your home.”

It’s a quick start to the hurricane season, and it’s likely to be a harbinger of what’s to come as the season progresses.


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