Hurricane Beryl: Storm reaches Category 5, earliest storm to do so on record

Hurricane Beryl reached a Category 5 Monday night with winds up to 160 mph.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm will weaken Tuesday but will be “near major hurricane intensity” as it moves past Jamaica and the Caymen Islands, USA Today reported.

It made landfall Monday with 150 mph winds at its eye, when it hit Carriacou. The last major hurricane to hit the nation was Ivan in 2004 which had winds more than 135 mph.

Beryl has some hurricane watchers predicting this year has the potential to be a bad hurricane season since this is the earliest that a Category 5 has formed, The New York Times reported.

“This early-season storm activity is breaking records that were set in 1933 and 2005, two of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record,” Philip Klotzbach, an expert in seasonal hurricane forecasts, told the Times.

Beryl beat the record held by Hurricane Emily, which reached Category 5 on July 16, 2005.

Meteorologists said Beryl was able to get that strong because the Atlantic Ocean has been warm, typically seen in September during peak hurricane season. Warm ocean water fuels storms, allowing them to grow in intensity.

The hurricane also formed further east than other storms that formed in June, breaking the record set by an unnamed storm that formed east of the Caribbean in June 1933, the newspaper reported.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association predicted that 2024 would see eight to 13 hurricanes, about half of them reaching “major” status. Major status is a category 3, 4 or 5 storm.

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