02 July 2024

Running out of adjectives to describe Hurricane Beryl

Beryl has broken (at least?) two more incredible records in the past day: 
1) On July 2, it became the earliest Category 5 hurricane on record in the Atlantic, beating the previous date by fifteen days (Emily on July 17, 2005)
2) With 165 mph peak winds, it became the strongest hurricane ever observed during July, beating the previous strongest by 5 mph (also Emily on July 17, 2005).  It maintained that 165 mph intensity for six hours.  The infrared satellite image at the top of this post is from its peak intensity.

Beryl was first upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane on Monday night, and as of Tuesday afternoon, Beryl is just shy of that mark as an upper-end Category 4 hurricane.

However, the anticipated stronger vertical wind shear in the central Caribbean is beginning to take its toll on the storm's structure and some weakening is imminent.  It will pass south of Hispaniola on Tuesday evening, then approach Jamaica on Wednesday, bringing extremely destructive wind and storm surge to the island.  This will be the worst storm for Jamaica since Dean 2007 and then Ivan 2004 before that... so a very historic and devastating landfall (or near landfall) is coming tomorrow.

The radar in Jamaica has been inoperable for a while, but we will have some distant radar coverage from Cuba and then from Grand Cayman, which you'll be able to find at https://bmcnoldy.earth.miami.edu/tropics/radar/

As far as timing goes, the graphic below shows the probability of tropical storm force winds and their most likely time of arrival, at least through the end of the forecast period on Sunday morning.

It will reach the Yucatan peninsula on Friday morning and re-emerge over the Gulf of Mexico on Friday evening.  There's still uncertainty in the model guidance about how far north it might turn once it's in the Gulf... and at this point, anywhere from Mexico to Texas to Louisiana should be paying extremely close attention and taking preliminary precautions.  Although the current NHC forecast has it at tropical storm intensity in the Gulf, there is certainly model guidance that suggests it could be a strong hurricane again by its final landfall somewhere along the Gulf coast.

The system behind Beryl, Invest 96L, continues to struggle to organize and its formation probabilities are decreasing every day.  However, it will bring unwanted unsettled rainy weather to the Leeward Islands on Wednesday-Thursday... the same places that just got hit by a Category 4 hurricane on Monday.

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