Hurricane season is officially underway, thanks to Tropical Storm Beryl. The storm became a Category 1 hurricane while heading towards Puerto Rico, so get all the vital details.
Beryl is indeed the First Hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season. By the morning July 6, Tropical Storm Beryl had racked up enough speed and strength to transform from a tropical depression into a full-fledged hurricane. The Category 1 storm – located 1,100 miles east-southeast of the Winward Islands, per The Weather Channel — now has the distinction of being the first official entry into the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.
Beryl is small, not that mighty – but unpredictable. It took a mere 24 hours for Beryl to turn from depression to hurricane, but she’s not expected to become a very powerful storm, according to CBS News. Beryl is on a westward path that will take the storm into an environment with a “much stronger vertical wind shear,” meaning it will be weakened by the time it hits Puerto Rico next week.
Still, the size of the storm has weather watchers on alert. “Due to its very small size, there is greater-than-usual uncertainty in the analysis of Beryl’s current intensity. Confidence in the official intensity forecast is also much lower than normal,” the National Hurricane Center said when issue a warning on July 6. “Rapid changes in intensity, both up and down, that are difficult to predict are possible during the next couple days.”
It’s still going to get wet and windy. Beryl was moving west at 14 mph, with sustained winds of 75 mph, per CNN. The storm is expected to pick up a little strength, but the dry air and shearing vertical winds will weaken it enough that it’ll probably revert to a tropical storm by the time it makes landfall on July 9. Beryl’s expected to bring showers and thunderstorms to the Lesser Antilles on July 8, with a potential of 1-2 inches of rainfall (with up to 3 inches possible.) If the storm does make it to Puerto Rico, it won’t have anywhere the strength of 2017’s Hurricane Maria.
Alberto was the first storm of the season. Tropical Storm Alberto popped up in late May, making landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a subtropical storm, per CNN. Unlike Beryl, Alberto wasn’t able to beef up into an official hurricane, but he still brought damage to states in the South and Midwest. At least five people died in incidents related to Alberto, so take that as a warning: just because Beryl is not a Cat-5, she can still be deadly.