Beryl becomes earliest Category 4 Atlantic hurricane on record

Hurricane Beryl grew into an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane on Sunday, making it the earliest Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic on record, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

On average, the first hurricane of the Atlantic season forms in the second week of August. Previously, Hurricane Dennis held the record, which became a Category 4 Atlantic hurricane on July 8, 2005.

Beryl is expected to bring “life-threatening” winds and storm surge to the Caribbean islands on early Monday, according to the agency.

As of late Sunday evening, the rapidly developing storm reached maximum sustained winds of 145 mph as it moved toward the Windward Islands.

It is expected to move across the Caribbean and toward the northwestern region of the sea, affecting Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

It took Beryl only 42 hours to strengthen from a tropical depression to a major hurricane, according to Sam Lillo, a meteorologist with the forecasting group DTN. That level of rapid intensification has never happened in June.

“This level of rapid intensification is rare any time of the year, and previously hadn’t been achieved before mid-August,” he posted on social media platform X.

In a report released last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the Atlantic hurricane season in 2024 will be “above average,” with 17 to 25 storms, eight to 13 hurricanes and four to seven major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher.

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