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Beryl has intensified into a hurricane in the Atlantic and is expected to strengthen further, potentially becoming a significant storm as it moves into the Caribbean

NOAA satellite image shows hurricane Beryl (Via NOAA)

Beryl developed into a hurricane on Saturday as it moved towards the southeastern Caribbean. Forecasters predicted it would strengthen further into a significant storm before reaching Barbados late Sunday or early Monday.

A major hurricane is classified as Category 3 or higher, with winds of at least 111 mph (178 kph). As of Saturday night, Beryl was a Category 1 hurricane, breaking a record from 1933 for the furthest east formation of a hurricane in the tropical Atlantic in June, according to Philip Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University.

Hurricane warnings were issued for Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Tropical storm warnings were in effect for Martinique and Tobago, and a tropical storm watch for Dominica.

“It’s surprising to see a forecast for a major hurricane in June anywhere in the Atlantic, especially this far east in the deep tropics. #Beryl is rapidly organizing over the warmest waters ever recorded for late June,” posted Michael Lowry, a hurricane expert based in Florida.

NOAA satellite image shows hurricane Beryl (Via NOAA)

Sabu Best, director of Barbados’ meteorological service, indicated Beryl’s center was expected to pass about 26 miles (45 kilometers) south of Barbados. Forecasters anticipated the storm would continue across the Caribbean towards Jamaica and potentially Mexico.

Late Saturday, Beryl was located approximately 595 miles (955 kilometers) east-southeast of Barbados, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph). It was moving west at 20 mph (31 kph).

“Rapid strengthening is expected,” stated the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Tomer Burg, an atmospheric science researcher, highlighted that just on Friday, Beryl was only a tropical depression with 35 mph winds.

“This indicates that Beryl met rapid intensification criteria before it even became a hurricane, based on preliminary data,” he wrote on social media.

Brian McNoldy, a tropical meteorology researcher at the University of Miami, noted that Beryl was being fueled by warm waters, with ocean heat content in the deep Atlantic at its highest on record for this time of year.

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