Hurricane Beryl

July 1, 2024

On the 30th of June 2024 Hurricane Beryl entered the history books as the only Category 4 hurricane to form in June. On the 28th of June at 18:00 Beryl was a tropical depression with windspeeds of 30 knots (34.5mph), by the 30th at 12:00 windspeeds were estimated at 105 knots (120.8pmh). This is an astonishing rapid intensification from a tropical depression to a hurricane of Category 4 in just 42 hours.

Another remarkable aspect of Hurricane Beryl is its very southerly position as shown in the plot relative to all the other Category 4+ hurricanes since 1900. Major hurricanes seldom hit regions as far south as the Windward Islands and rarely with such intensity. Hurricane Allen in 1980 and Ivan in 2004 are the only major hurricanes on record in the vicinity.

The plot shows that the hurricanes of Category 4 or above that form east of 60W are typical in August or September when the ocean temperatures are normally at their peak. However, this season the main development region (MDR) temperatures are already well above the long-term average sea surface temperatures for August-September and so it should not be surprising that Beryl is more typical of a peak season major hurricane.

While the first few weeks of June provided a slow start to the 2024 hurricane season, Beryl is a stark reminder that was likely just the calm before the storm.


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