Hurricane Beryl's unprecedented nature explained, and what's next for the record hurricane

Elyse Smith Image
Tuesday, July 2, 2024
Beryl's nature explained, and what's next for the record hurricane
Beryl is the first major hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season and broke records as it reached category 4 hurricane strength over the weekend.

Beryl is the first major hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season and broke records as it reached Category 4 strength over the weekend.

Beryl became the first Category 4 hurricane on record in the Atlantic for June and the only storm ever to rapidly intensify before Sept. 1.

It's a prime example of what the ABC13 Weather Team forewarned about this season.

First, the unusually warm waters across the tropics are rocket fuel for hurricanes and can aid in the rapid intensification process.

So when conditions are right, any tropical system could rapidly intensify this season, potentially leading to more hurricanes and even major hurricanes developing this season.

This season was also predicted to be above average regarding named storms. So far, the season is living up to the hype, with Alberto, Beryl, and Chris already forming.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on Beryl as it tracks across the Caribbean this week, leaving many Houstonians wondering if there could be any implications for the Texas coast. This is because a few "wildcards" left along Beryl's path could influence its intensity and trajectory.

RELATED: Hurricane Beryl makes landfall on Grenada's Carriacou Island as life-threatening Category 4 storm

First up is Beryl's interaction with Jamaica.

The hurricane is on track to pass by the island midweek this week. Depending on how close the center of the storm gets to land, this could influence its intensity after that.

Beryl could also encounter wind shear near the island, likely weakening the storm. Currently, a Hurricane Watch is in effect for Jamaica, with the island potentially being impacted by Beryl as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday.

Then Beryl is expected to reach the western extent of the Caribbean Sea by Friday. That's wildcard number two for similar reasons.

If Beryl took a more due westerly track over Belize and Central America, the system would encounter more terrain, likely weakening the storm before it moves into the Bay of Campeche next weekend.

If Beryl had made landfall farther north along the Yucatan Peninsula, say near Cozumel or Cancun, the land would be flatter and may not have disrupted the storm as much.

Finally, there's a third option for Beryl: to split the gap between the Yucatan and Cuba and move over water into the Gulf of Mexico.

While that's not expected at this time, if Beryl were to take that track, the hurricane would likely retain its strength or potentially intensify.

And the final wildcard is what happens to Beryl once the storm is in the Gulf of Mexico.

Timing-wise, that'll likely occur on Saturday. If the storm is farther south in the Bay of Campeche and weaker, say only a tropical storm, the steering currents above will keep the storm farther south and likely track into Mexico, taking a similar path as Tropical Storm Chris and Alberto did earlier this season.

However, if Beryl is stronger when it enters the Gulf, there is a chance the storm could make a northern turn into the Gulf over the weekend.

That is when we have to be wary of any impacts along the Gulf Coast, including us here in southeast Texas. As of Monday, July 1, it's still too early to tell, but the ABC13 Weather Team is not ruling out a Texas coast landfall next week.

For more on this story, follow Elyse Smith on Facebook, X and Instagram.