Hurricane Beryl nears Category 5 strength as it pummels across Caribbean islands

Update (10:59 p.m.) Hurricane Beryl is now a "potentially catastrophic" Category 5 hurricane, the earliest Cat. 5 storm to form in the Atlantic, according to the National Hurricane Center. Click here for latest updates, track, and path.

Hurricane Beryl – a powerful, destructive and historic storm amid the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season – is nearing category 5 strength, the National Hurricane Center said Monday night. 

Beryl made landfall around 11:10 a.m. Monday on Carriacou Island as an "extremely dangerous" category 4 storm, the NHC said. At the time, it had maximum sustained winds of at least 150 mph.

At 5 p.m. Hurricane Beryl had sustained winds of 155 mph, indicating it had grown stronger. To be a category 5 hurricane, the storm has to have sustained winds of at least 157 mph.

Hurricane Beryl makes landfall on Carriacou Island on Monday, July 1. (Photo: NOAA)

Hurricane Beryl tracker: Where is Hurricane Beryl located right now?

In its 8 p.m. update, Hurricane Beryl was about 575 miles east-southeast of Isla Beata, Dominican Republic with sustained winds of 155 mph. It was traveling west-northwest at 21 mph with a minimum central pressure of 938 mb.

It's expected to pass close to Jamaica on Wednesday. 

Where is Hurricane Beryl going? Is Beryl going to hit Jamaica, Mexico, or Texas?

"The center of Beryl will move quickly away from the southern Windward Islands tonight and continue westward to west-northwestward during the next few days. On the forecast track, the center of Beryl will move across the southeastern and central Caribbean Sea tonight through Tuesday and is forecast to pass near Jamaica on Wednesday," the NHC said.

The NHC said the storm is expected to remain an "extremely dangerous major hurricane" as it moved over the east Caribbean. Weakening is expected by the middle of the week, but it's forecast to remain a hurricane. 

Aong the projected forecast route, Hurricane Beryl is expected to pass through Central America before curving up into Mexico – and possibly curving east toward southern Texas. Though, specifics of the forecast are several days out.

What is a category 5 hurricane? Understanding the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

Hurricanes are rated using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which is a 1-5 scale using the estimated sustained winds within a hurricane.

Here are the measurements to know:

  • Tropical storm: Maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph
  • Category 1 hurricane: Maximum sustained winds of 74-95 mph
  • Category 2 hurricane: Maximum sustained winds of 96-110 mph
  • Category 3 hurricane: Maximum sustained winds of 111-129 mph
  • Category 4 hurricane: Maximum sustained winds of 130-156 mph
  • Category 5 hurricane: Maximum sustained winds of 157 or higher

The Saffir-Simpson model only takes into account estimated wind speeds. It does not account for storm surge, rainfall, flooding, or tornadoes.

A historic hurricane. Here's why:

  • The first category 4 hurricane ever in June
  • The earliest category 4 hurricane on record and the farthest east June hurricane ever in the tropical Atlantic Ocean
  • The strongest storm in the Caribbean since Maria in 2017
  • Second-strongest hurricane to make landfall anywhere in the Windward Islands (Maria, 2017, made landfall over Dominica as a category 5 hurricane on Sept. 18).

2024 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Storm Names (and how to pronounce each)