The barrel strengthens into the first major Atlantic hurricane of the year.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Barrel strengthened into a hurricane Saturday as it churned toward the southeastern Caribbean, with forecasters warning that it could reach Barbados late Sunday or early Monday. Before it will become a dangerous major storm.

A major hurricane is considered Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds of at least 111 mph (178 km/h). As of Saturday night, Beryl was a Category 1 hurricane, marking the farthest eastward a tropical Atlantic hurricane has ever formed in June, according to Philip Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University. broke a record set in 1933.

A hurricane warning was issued for Barbados, Saint Lucia, Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. A tropical storm warning was posted for Martinique and Tobago and a tropical storm warning for Dominica.

“It is surprising to see a major (Category 3+) hurricane forecast anywhere in the Atlantic in June, let alone in the deep tropics this far east. #Barrel Organizing in a hurry over the warmest waters on record in late June,” Florida-based hurricane expert Michael Lowry posted on X.

Sabo Best, director of the island's meteorological service, said the center of the barrel was forecast to pass about 26 miles (45 km) south of Barbados. Forecasters then expect the storm to cross the Caribbean toward Jamaica and eventually Mexico.

On Saturday night, Beryl was centered about 660 miles (1,060 km) east-southeast of Barbados, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). It was moving west at 22 mph (35 km/h).

“Rapid strengthening is now forecast,” the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center said.

Atmospheric science researcher Tomer Berg noted that the barrel was just a tropical depression with sustained winds of 35 mph on Friday.

“This means that according to preliminary data, Beryl has already met the high speed criteria before becoming a hurricane,” he wrote on social media platform X.

According to Brian McNoldy, a tropical climate researcher at the University of Miami, warm waters in the deep Atlantic were fueling the barrel, with the amount of ocean heat being the highest on record for this time of year.

According to Klotzbach, Beryl is also the most powerful June storm in the eastern tropical Atlantic.

Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley said in a public address on Saturday night that “we remain absolutely vigilant and need to take every precaution possible for ourselves, our families and our neighbours”. “We don't want to put anyone's life at risk.”

He noted that thousands of people are in Barbados. Twenty20 World Cup Cricket FinalIndia defeated South Africa in the capital city of Bridgetown on Saturday. It is considered as the biggest cricket event.

Some fans, like Shashank Musko, a 33-year-old physician who lives in Pittsburgh, were scrambling to change flights to leave before the storm.

Musko said by phone that he has never experienced a hurricane: “I don't plan on being in one either.”

He and his wife, who were bound for India, found out about the barrel thanks to a taxi driver who mentioned the storm.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said in a public address on Saturday that shelters would open Sunday evening and urged people to be prepared. He ordered officials to refuel government vehicles and told grocery stores and gas stations to stay open later than before the storm.

“There will be such a rush … if you keep limited hours,” he said, apologizing ahead of time for government disruptions to radio stations with storm updates. “Cricket fans have to bear with us that we have to give information … it's life and death.”

Beryl is the second named storm predicted a Busy hurricane seasonwhich runs from June 1 to November 30 in the Atlantic Ocean. Earlier this month, Tropical Storm Alberto Torrential rains came ashore in northeastern Mexico, killing four people.

Lowry noted that only five named storms in the 1851 record formed in the tropical Atlantic east of the Caribbean in June, and only one of these was a hurricane. A 1933 first hurricane was the most active hurricane on record, he said.

Mark Spence, manager of a hostel in Barbados, said by phone that he was calm about the approaching storm.

“It's the weather. You can get a storm at any time,” he said. “I'm always ready. There's always enough food in my house.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that the 2024 hurricane season is likely to be well above average, with 17 to 25 named storms. The forecast calls for 13 hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 14 named storms, seven of them hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Barrels of up to six inches (15 cm) of rain were expected in Barbados and nearby islands, and a high surf warning was in effect for waves up to 13 feet (4 m). Storm surges of up to seven feet (2 m) were also predicted.

The storm is approaching the southeastern Caribbean after an unrelated weather event caused severe flooding in Port of Spain, the capital of the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.

Caribbean leaders are worried not only about Barrell, but also about a cluster of storms moving closer to Barrell's path that had a 70% chance of becoming a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

Meanwhile, A Nameless storm More than 20 inches (50 cm) of rain fell on parts of South Florida earlier this June, stranding many motorists on flooded roads and pushing water into some homes in low-lying areas.

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