Hurricane Beryl To Remain Dangerous Storm As It Moves Through Caribbean

Hurricane Beryl To Remain Dangerous Storm As It Moves Through Caribbean

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist | AccuWeather

Key Takeaways:

Beryl crossed a portion of the Windward Islands as an intense Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph Monday

•Beryl is the strongest hurricane on record to hit portions of the Windward Islands so early in the season and the earliest 165-mph Category 5 hurricane on record for the Atlantic basin

AccuWeather meteorologists warn that Beryl could reach part of the United States after its trek through the Caribbean

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Hurricane Beryl will continue to churn west-northwestward with significant risks to lives and property coming to areas over the central and northwestern Caribbean later in the week. AccuWeather meteorologists have deemed there will be no threats from Beryl along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Still, interests along the Texas portion of the Gulf Coast should monitor the situation closely.

Quick-moving Beryl tore across the Windward Islands with a path of destruction on Monday. The smaller islands south of St. Vincent and areas just north of Grenada bore the storm’s full Category 4 fury, with maximum sustained winds of at least 150 mph. The eye passed directly over the island of Carriacou at 11:10 AST. Late Monday evening, Beryl strengthened to Category 5 status (sustained winds of 157 mph or greater), with sustained winds reaching 165 mph Monday night.

“The next appreciable landmass in Beryl’s path will be Jamaica on Wednesday,” AccuWeather Lead Tropical Meteorologist Alex DaSilva said.

Factors affecting Beryl’s intensity will be much warmer-than-historical-average waters and light breezes in the path of the hurricane over the next 24 hours or so. When these breezes, known as wind shear, become strong, they can lead to the loss of wind intensity for an established tropical system.

“Beginning Tuesday night through much of the balance of Beryl’s life over water, the hurricane will encounter stronger wind shear from midweek to the weekend,” AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said, “In addition, interaction with the larger landmasses of the Greater Antilles in the central and western Caribbean should begin to take the edge off Beryl’s intensity.”

Even if Beryl loses some wind intensity during the second half of the week, it will remain a dangerous hurricane. It is likely to produce torrential rain, flooding, mudslides, damaging winds, pounding seas, and a storm surge along its path and many miles away from its center.

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will escape Beryl’s wrath, but there can be fringe-effect gusty squalls, downpours and rough seas. As Beryl continues westward, it will also inch northward so that southern portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti can experience moderate impacts from rain, wind and seas.

Jamaica is likely to experience a high risk to lives and property Wednesday. The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes for Jamaica is a 2. Preparations need to be completed by late Tuesday in Jamaica, as conditions will deteriorate rapidly on Wednesday.

Destructive winds with life-threatening flooding rain and storm surge flooding are anticipated in Jamaica for several hours on Wednesday. Only the short duration of hurricane conditions may limit impacts somewhat.

Will Hurricane Beryl reach the US?

Beyond Jamaica, Beryl will continue to track slightly north of west. However, the influence of high pressure to the north over the southern U.S. is likely to waver.

“If the high pressure area was to remain strong, Beryl would make landfall in Belize or Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday night or Friday and then remain mostly over land for its duration,” Rayno said. “But if the high weakens just a bit, and we are seeing signs of that trend now, it may allow Beryl to take a more north-northwesterly track, in which case it may avoid more land and get into the Gulf of Mexico as a formidable hurricane instead of a chopped-down tropical storm that encounters more land.”

Because of the potential for Beryl to turn more to the northwest upon reaching the northwestern Caribbean, interests in the U.S., especially the Texas coast, should closely monitor the hurricane’s progress and forecasts by meteorologists.

AccuWeather meteorologists have given the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and the Florida Peninsula the all-clear from Beryl’s impacts, AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said, but that is not the case for other portions of the Gulf Coast.

“From Panama City, Florida to New Orleans, there is a low risk of direct impacts from Beryl, but from about Corpus Christi to Brownsville, Texas, the risk increases significantly due to the potential for Beryl to have more direct impacts,” Porter explained. “That southern portion of the Texas coast is the zone we have to really watch.”

Despite the risk, Beryl would not approach southern Texas with the same intensity as that of the Windward Islands. However, there could still be significant rain, gusty winds and storm surge this weekend with at least some risk to lives and property.

Another tropical rainstorm trails Beryl in Atlantic

Chris, the third tropical storm of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, formed this past weekend out of a tropical rainstorm that AccuWeather meteorologists had been tracking for over a week as it crossed the Caribbean. That storm diminished on Monday after making landfall over northeastern Mexico.

This image of the tropical Atlantic was captured on Tuesday morning, July 2, 2024. Dangerous Hurricane Beryl appears left of center as a massive swirl of clouds. A much smaller, budding tropical rainstorm appears right of center. (AccuWeather Enhanced RealView™ Satellite)

Thousands of miles farther to the east over the south-central Atlantic, another mass of showers and thunderstorms, referred to as a tropical wave, pushed off of Africa early last week. That system has been showing some signs of organization and was dubbed a tropical rainstorm by AccuWeather meteorologists late last week to raise awareness.

At this time, there is a moderate to high risk of the system evolving into a tropical storm or hurricane this week as it takes a very similar track to Beryl just days earlier. However, because waters have been churned up by Beryl in the path of the system, it is unlikely to reach the same intensity as Beryl.

Interests in the Lesser Antilles, especially the Windward Islands once again, should closely monitor the rainstorm’s progress.

AccuWeather meteorologists are projecting that the system will cross the Windward Islands Wednesday night with the intensity of a tropical depression or tropical storm. Even if the system remains relatively weak compared to powerful Beryl, recent damage or destruction of infrastructure on some of the Windward Islands could make impacts worse.

The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes in the Lesser Antilles is a 1 for the upcoming storm.

Because Beryl has caused considerable damage to buildings and infrastructure, such as water, sewer and electrical services, and likely displaced many people on portions of the Windward Islands, the new system can bring much more damage, dangerous conditions, and disruptions than a mere tropical storm might do without Beryl’s wrath. Displaced people could face renewed threats from flash flooding, mudslides and coastal erosion.

Roads and storm drains clogged with debris may flood more easily in the wake of Beryl. Weakened buildings hanging on may be further damaged by rain and gusty winds from the new system. Coastal structures that Beryl damaged may sustain more stress from the new tropical system.

In the hardest-hit communities, it may take many months to years to recover from Beryl, let alone the additional damage caused by the new tropical system. The island’s tourism industry could be adversely affected for an extended period. At the very least, the new system and its heavy rain and gusty winds will hamper recovery and cleanup operations.

AccuWeather continues to emphasize that the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season will be super-charged with a well-above-historical average number of tropical storms and hurricanes, as well as many storms that have the potential to rapidly intensify due to exceptionally warm waters, such as Beryl has done. Even the typical ‘quiet time’ for the Atlantic has been undermined by the Atlantic warmth.

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