Hurricane Beryl strengthened Sunday to an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm with life-threatening winds and storm surge expected in the Caribbean by early Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

NOAA and Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft data indicated Beryl had strengthened to a category 4 hurricane Sunday. The maximum sustained winds are estimated to be 130 mph with higher gusts.

As of the 5pm, NHC’s update at 5pm said: “Hurricane Beryl was located 250 miles southeast of Barbados and 350 miles east-southeast of St Vincent. Beryl is moving toward the west-southwest at 18 mph. A continued quick westward to west-northwestward motion is expected during the next few days.

“On the forecast track, the center of Beryl is expected to move across the Windward Islands Monday morning and across the southeastern and central Caribbean Sea late Monday through Wednesday.

“Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph with higher gusts. Beryl is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Fluctuations in strength are likely during the next day or so, and Beryl is expected to remain an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane through landfall in the Windward Islands.

“Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles.

“A hurricane warning is now in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadine Islands, Grenada, and Tobago. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominica, Trinidad, the south coast of the Dominican Republic from Punta Palenque westward to the border with Haiti, and the south coast of Haiti from the border with the Dominican Republic to Anse d’Hainault.

AccuWeather meteorologists currently don’t expect Beryl to impact Florida and the U.S., but warn residents to not let down their guard.

“Direct impacts to the United States look unlikely; however, it is very important to note that if the high pressure across the Southeast weakens, that can allow the storm to move farther north and potentially directly impact the Gulf Coast,” AccuWeather Lead Hurricane Forecaster Alex DaSilva said.

Named storms are rare this early in the season, especially major hurricanes with Beryl being the eighth storm that formed the Atlantic before July 4, according to AccuWeather.

“We’ve seen rapid intensification, cat 4 and 5 hurricanes before. Southern Windward Islands have been struck before. Just not this insanely early in season. Ivan in Sep 2004 took dozens of lives there. Please find strongest possible shelter by tonight,” Weather Channel hurricane expert Dr. Rick Knabb posted on X.

Elsewhere, Invest 94L, a low pressure system over the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico over the southern portion of the Bay of Campeche has become better organized during the past few hours and a tropical depression could be forming. The system is moving toward west-northwestward at 10 to 15 mph and is expected to approach the eastern coast of Mexico tonight and move inland on Monday morning. The NHC gives Invest 94L a 80% chance to develop into a named storm over the next 48 hours.

Regardless of development, heavy rainfall will result in areas of flooding across eastern Mexico today and into Monday.

View |27 PhotosSee satellite, graphic images showing Hurricane Beryl

Hurricane Beryl formed Friday, June 28. The storm is expected to strengthen as it heads toward the Caribbean.

A system in the Eastern Tropical Atlantic, Invest 96L, located several hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, is producing an area of showers and thunderstorms. Environmental conditions appear conducive for development, and a tropical depression could form by the middle of next week. The NHC gives it a 40 percent chance of development in the next 48 hours and a 70% chance to develop over the next week.

If either of these systems develops, the next named storm will be Chris.

    Hurricane warning: A hurricane warning is in effect for the following:

    • Barbados
    • St. Lucia
    • St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands
    • Grenada
    • Tobago

    Tropical Storm Warning: A tropical storm warning is in effect for the following:

    • Martinique

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