Tropical Storm Beryl is forecast to become a major hurricane

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A tropical storm moved toward the southeastern Caribbean on Saturday, forecasters warned, and is expected to strengthen into a dangerous major hurricane before reaching Barbados late Sunday or early Monday.

A major hurricane with sustained winds of at least 111 mph (178 kph) is considered a Category 3 or higher. Hurricane watches were in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, while tropical storm watches were issued for Martinique, Dominica, and Tobago.

“It’s surprising to see a forecast for a major (Category 3+) hurricane anywhere in the Atlantic in June, let alone this far east in the deep tropics. #Beryl We’re making haste in the warmest waters on record for late June,” Florida-based hurricane expert Michael Lowry posted on X.

Beryl’s center is forecast to pass about 26 miles (45 kilometers) south of Barbados, said Sabu Best, director of the island’s meteorological service.

On Saturday, Beryl was located about 785 miles (1,260 kilometers) east-southeast of Barbados, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph). It was moving west at 23 mph (37 kph).

“Rapid strengthening is now forecast,” the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

According to Brian McNoldy, a tropical meteorologist at the University of Miami, warm water is fueling the beryl, as ocean temperatures in the deep Atlantic are on record for this time of year.

Beryl is the strongest June tropical storm on record in the eastern tropical Atlantic, said Colorado State University hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach.

“We must be prepared,” Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley said in a public address late Friday. “You and I know when these things happen, it’s best to plan for the worst and pray for the best.”

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He noted that thousands of people are in Barbados Twenty20 World Cup Cricket Final, India and South Africa play in the capital Bridgetown on Saturday. It is considered as the biggest event in cricket.

Some fans, like Shashank Musku, a 33-year-old physician who lives in Pittsburgh, rushed to change their flights to leave before the storm.

Musk has never experienced a hurricane: “I don’t plan on being in one either.”

Rooting for India, he and his wife found out about Beryl from a taxi driver who mentioned the storm.

Meanwhile, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said in a public address on Saturday that shelters would open Sunday evening as he urged people to prepare. He ordered officials to refuel government vehicles and asked grocery stores and gas stations to stay open ahead of the storm.

“There will be so much urgency … if you have limited hours,” he said, while apologizing earlier for the government’s interruptions to radio stations with storm announcements. “Cricket lovers have to bear with us, we have to inform… it’s life and death.”

Storm Beryl is the second named storm to be predicted Busy hurricane season, which will run from June 1 to November 30 on Atlantic. Earlier this month, Tropical Storm Alberto Heavy rains kill four in northeastern Mexico

Lowry noted that only five named storms have formed in the tropical Atlantic east of the Caribbean. Of that, only one hurricane was recorded east of the Caribbean in June.

Mark Spence, manager of a hostel in Barbados, said in a phone interview that he was calm about the approaching storm.

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“Tis the season. A storm can blow anytime,” he said. “I am always prepared. There is always enough food in my house.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that the 2024 hurricane season will be above average, with 17 to 25 named storms. The forecast calls for 13 hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

The average Atlantic hurricane season produces 14 named storms, seven of which are hurricanes and three are major hurricanes.

Up to six inches (15 centimeters) of rain was expected to fall on Beryl Barbados and nearby islands, and a high surf warning was in effect for waves of up to 13 feet (4 meters). Storm surges of up to seven feet (2 meters) are also forecast.

The storm is approaching the southeastern Caribbean, days after the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago reported severe flooding in the capital Port-of-Spain as a result of an unrelated weather event.

Meanwhile, A A storm without a name Earlier this June, 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain fell in parts of South Florida, stranding many motorists on flooded streets and pushing water into some homes in low-lying areas.

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