Hurricane Beryl becomes "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm as it nears Caribbean islands

Hurricane Beryl becomes “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm as it nears Caribbean islands

Hurricane Beryl is expected to remain an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm when it hits the southeast Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday. Forecasters warned the first major hurricane of the Atlantic season would bring life-threatening winds and storm surge to the Windward Islands early Monday.

As of 4 p.m. ET, Beryl was located about 250 miles east-southeast of Barbados with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and was moving west at 18 mph.

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

brought torrential flooding to portions of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. It was responsible for at least four deaths in the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon and Veracruz.  

According to CBS News weather producer David Parkinson, Beryl is the farthest east a hurricane has formed in June, and one of only two to do so east of the Caribbean, with the other instance occurring in 1933. Parkinson expects Beryl to remain south of Jamaica, and forecasts that any U.S. impacts are still at least eight days away. 

Warm waters are fueling Beryl, with ocean heat content in the deep Atlantic the highest on record for this time of year, according to Brian McNoldy, University of Miami tropical meteorology researcher.

Forecasters warned of a life-threatening storm surge of up to 9 feet in areas where Beryl will make landfall, with up to 6 inches of rain for Barbados and nearby islands.

Bracing for the storm

Car line up at a gas station before hurricane Beryl lands in Bridgetown, Barbados on June 29, 2024. Much of the southeast Caribbean was on alert as Beryl strengthened into the first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season, with forecasters warning it will swiftly become a major storm.


Long lines formed at gas stations and grocery stores in Barbados and other islands as people rushed to prepare for a storm that rapidly intensified from a tropical storm with 35 mph winds on Friday to a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday.

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

She noted that thousands of people were in Barbados Saturday for the Twenty20 World Cup cricket final, with India beating South Africa on Saturday in the capital of Bridgetown. It is considered cricket’s biggest event.

Meanwhile, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said in a public address Saturday that shelters will 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 later before the storm.

“Please take this very seriously and prepare yourselves,” said Gonsalves. “This is a terrible hurricane.”

Caribbean leaders were preparing not only for Beryl, but for a cluster of thunderstorms trailing the hurricane that have a 70% chance of becoming a tropical depression.

“Do not let your guard down,” Mottley said.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the season’s first hurricane usually forms in early to mid-August, which makes Beryl unusual for having reached hurricane strength. In a report released last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an “above average” hurricane season with 17 to 25 storms, 8 to 13 hurricanes and 4 to 7 major hurricanes of category 3 or higher. An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 14 named storms, seven of them hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

A tropical storm is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph, while a hurricane is defined as a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds greater than 74 mph.