08 July 2024

Hurricane Beryl makes its final landfall in Texas

After a 13-day journey from the west coast of Africa to the Gulf coast of Texas, Beryl made its final landfall early Monday morning near Matagorda, Texas as a Category 1 hurricane.  It was on a strengthening trend leading up to landfall, so thankfully it ran out of time before it could regain too much of its former intensity.

However, it is producing significant storm surge and flash flooding on Monday in Texas... this radar loop shows the few hours before and after landfall.  The full collection of land-based radar coverage of Beryl can be found at https://bmcnoldy.earth.miami.edu/tropics/radar/

Beryl will continue to move inland... into northeast Texas, Arkansas, and beyond.  It will lose its tropical cyclone status but still be a major rain-maker along the way.

Beryl broke a lot of records related to where and when it formed, rapidly intensified, and achieved Category 3 and then Category 5 intensity.  It became the only Category 4+ hurricane on record to pass through the southern Windward Islands, and then it was the fifth Category 4+ hurricane to pass within 60 miles of Jamaica on record.

This type of incredible early-season activity is attributable to the record-warm water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic.  When Beryl formed, the sea surface temperature in the "Main Development Region" (MDR) was already warmer than it normally would be at the warmest time of year, and the ocean heat content in the same region looked like it normally would in mid-September.

We are likely going to see more extreme record-breaking storms this season as water temperatures continue to be very anomalously warm AND we transition to La NiƱa which generally acts to reduce vertical wind shear in the tropical Atlantic and therefore enhance hurricane activity.

In terms of ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), Beryl has boosted the 2024 tally to an incredible level for so early in the season.  The ACE is higher than any other year on record by this date (even 1933), and is actually already higher than 14% of all entire hurricane seasons going back to 1851!  The ACE this season would finally meet up with the climatological value if no additional activity occurred through August 31.

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