Hurricane Beryl Forms: Major Caribbean Threat Ahead

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  • Beryl is now a Category 1 hurricane in the eastern Caribbean.
  • Beryl is likely to become a Category 3 hurricane before reaching the Windward Islands.
  • After that, its future in the rest of the Caribbean Sea is uncertain next week.
  • There are two other systems that we are monitoring very actively in late June.

Hurricane Beryl is rapidly strengthening in the central Atlantic Ocean and poses a major hurricane threat to the Windward Islands, but then faces an uncertain future in the Caribbean Sea as we also track two other systems in a busy pattern in late June.

Actual status: Beryl now has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, making it the first hurricane of the season. Beryl is centered more than 700 miles east of the Windward Islands. It is moving rapidly westward over the open waters of the central Atlantic Ocean. Beryl has rapidly intensified since becoming a tropical depression on Friday.

Beryl is the easternmost tropical hurricane to form in the Atlantic during the month of June, breaking a record that has stood for more than 90 years.

The first hurricane of the season typically forms around Aug. 11, using an average from 1991 to 2020, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Danger of the Windward Islands: Beryl will likely continue to rapidly intensify on Sunday. The National Hurricane Center’s latest forecast shown below expects Beryl to become the first Category 3 or greater hurricane of the season over record waters in late June before moving onto the Windward Islands late tonight Sunday or Monday with torrential rain, storm surges and damaging winds. .

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Current status and planned path

(The red shaded area indicates the potential track of the tropical cyclone center. It is important to note that impacts (especially heavy rain, high waves, coastal flooding, winds) with any tropical cyclone typically extend beyond its expected track.)

Interests in the Windward Islands, including Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lawrence. Lucy, Saint. Vincent and the Grenadines and Martinique should keep abreast of this storm forecast and prepare their hurricane plans.

A hurricane warning has been issued for Barbados, where tropical storm conditions are expected to arrive on these islands as early as Sunday afternoon and hurricane conditions are expected Sunday evening.

A hurricane watch has been issued for Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada. Tropical storm conditions could arrive on these islands as early as Sunday evening and hurricane conditions are possible early Monday.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominica, Martinique and Tobago.

You can find a map of the latest watches and warnings here. Additional watches and warnings will likely be issued for other locations in the near future.

Beryl’s uncertain future in the Caribbean: Beryl will move towards the eastern Caribbean Sea on Monday.

We then expect it to take a general west-northwest direction into the Caribbean Sea through the week of July 4. In general, if Beryl remains strong, it could move a bit further north into the Caribbean Sea. If it is weaker, it will tend to move further south. This uncertainty is reflected in the model forecast track map below.

(The lines on this graph represent several of the many trajectory predictions from various computer models. This is not an official forecast, but they serve as a guide for creating the projected trajectory.)

One reason for this uncertainty is the magnitude of the wind shear that Beryl will face in the Caribbean Sea. Typically at this time of year, Caribbean wind shear is strong enough to weaken or completely destroy tropical systems coming from the east. However, some forecast models suggest that wind shear may be weaker than usual, which could allow Beryl to survive longer than usual.

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Model forecast wind shear

(Areas of strong wind shear, the difference in wind speed and direction with height, are shown in purple, as predicted by the European forecast model. Strong wind shear is hostile to mature tropical cyclones and those which are trying to develop. The future system is highlighted by an arrow and a circle.

The essential : It is too early to determine exactly where Beryl might go in the western half of the Caribbean Sea later next week. All interests around the Caribbean Sea should closely monitor Beryl’s forecast over the coming days.

It is also far too early to tell whether Beryl will eventually threaten any portion of the U.S. Gulf Coast. Again, check back with us at Weather.com for forecast updates in the coming days.

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That’s not all we look at: There are two other tropical disturbances in the Atlantic basin, as shown in the map below.

A system located in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean is likely to develop over the next week. It will remain over the ocean until approaching the Windward Islands around the middle of the coming week. This could follow Hurricane Beryl within a few days.

The other system near Mexico, Invest 94L, also has a medium chance of developing once it emerges in the Bay of Campeche or the southwest Gulf of Mexico this weekend, before sliding towards the east of Mexico early next week.

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(Possible areas of tropical development according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest outlook are indicated by polygons, color-coded according to the likelihood of development over the next seven days. An “X” indicates the location of a current disturbance. )

Threat of heavy rain: Regardless of development, Invest 94L could dump locally heavy rains from parts of Central America into southern and eastern Mexico. Local flash flooding and landslides are possible, particularly in areas of high ground.

Increased swells, rip currents and coastal flooding are also possible along parts of the Gulf Coast and Texas from Sunday through at least early Monday.

(Improve your forecast even further with our detailed, hour-by-hour breakdown for the next 8 days – available only on our Premium Pro Experience.)

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Precipitation Outlook

(This should be interpreted as a general overview of where the heaviest rain could fall and could change depending on the predicted track of the tropical system. Higher amounts may occur where bands of rain are stagnant over a period of a few hours.)

The development of the tropical Atlantic occurred in June as recently as last year. As Senior Meteorologist Chris Dolce explained, tropical development east of the Lesser Antilles, where Invest 95L is located, in June is unusual, but has occurred in recent years, including 2023.

Last June, tropical storms Bret and then Cindy each developed well east of the Lesser Antilles in less than a week. This was the first time that two tropical storms had formed east of the Lesser Antilles (east of the Caribbean islands) in the same month.

Bonnie first became a tropical storm in late June 2022 east of Trinidad and Tobago before moving across the rest of the southern Caribbean Sea and then became a hurricane in the eastern Pacific.

In late June 2021, what would later become Hurricane Elsa first strengthened into a tropical storm in almost the same location as 2022’s Bonnie.

Beryl might be an extreme outlier though. If Beryl becomes a hurricane before Monday before reaching the Windward Islands, it would become only the second known hurricane to do so east of the Lesser Antilles in June.

According to WPLG TV hurricane expert Michael Lowry, only the 1933 “Trinidad and Tobago” hurricane first became a hurricane in June east of the Lesser Antilles on June 27, 1933, according to best NOAA tracking database.

Three years ago, Elsa narrowly missed that milestone. It first became a hurricane on July 2, 2021, near Barbados.

Check back with us at Weather.com for updates to this forecast as details become clearer in the coming days.

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