Hurricane Beryl makes landfall as life-threatening Category 4 storm

The strong Category 4 Hurricane Beryl is currently causing havoc through the Windward Islands, bringing violent winds, heavy rainfall, and life-threatening storm surges after making landfall on Carriacou Island, part of Grenada, on Monday. Beryl is the strongest known hurricane to pass through the Grenadines, setting a record since data collection began in 1851.

Hurricane Beryl triggered power outages, flooded streets, and created storm surge flooding in various parts of the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, and Tobago on Monday. The storm broke records for June because the ocean waters are as warm as they would normally be at the peak of hurricane season, indicating an unusual and active hurricane season.

Hurricane Beryl is unusual because it formed in the central Atlantic east of the Lesser Antilles, which is rare for this time of year. The storm is the third-earliest major hurricane, with Hurricane Alma in 1966 and Hurricane Audrey in 1957 being the earliest. Beryl is also the easternmost hurricane to form in the Tropical Atlantic in June, setting a new record.

The central and eastern Atlantic usually become more active in August, but this year the Atlantic basin has seen above-normal water temperatures and a lack of wind shear due to the transition from El Niño season to La Niña season, both of which contribute to tropical development.

As of Monday, Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and was moving west-northwest at 20 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend 40 miles from the center, while tropical-storm-force winds extend about 125 miles. The National Hurricane Center warned that life-threatening storm surge would raise water levels by as much as 6 to 9 feet above normal tide levels when Beryl made landfall.

Several hurricane warnings and watches have been issued for various Caribbean islands and regions, and hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes. Barbados declared a state of emergency and airports in Barbados, Grenada, and Saint Lucia have been closed. A second storm, Tropical Storm Chris, made landfall in Mexico earlier on Monday.

The long-term path of Hurricane Beryl is uncertain, but it is expected to remain a major hurricane for several more days before losing some strength. If Beryl survives its journey over land and reaches the bathtub-warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it could pose a threat to northeast Mexico or the US Gulf Coast. This hyperactive hurricane season is expected to have 17 to 25 named storms, with as many as 13 becoming hurricanes.

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