Hurricane Beryl has become the first hurricane-level storm of the 2018 Atlantic season.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center announced Friday that the storm, located about 1,830 kilometres east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles, was packing maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h.
Beryl is forecast to quickly weaken by late Saturday, and become a tropical storm late Sunday or Monday, the hurricane centre said.
Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Centre, told Global News that the storm is not an “imminent threat to Canada.”
“Although it’s a hurricane, it’s a really, really small storm,” he said. “There are no watches or advisories in Canada, however, we are keeping an eye on it.
The storm is still expected to bring wind, rainfall and potential flooding to Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Maria.
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Global News meteorologist Ross Hull explained that as sea surface temperatures rise, new storms will be on the radar.
“We are also keeping an eye on a disturbance forming off the southeast coast of the U.S. that will likely become a tropical depression in the next 48 hours,” Hull said.
“Some of these storms and their remnants could be moving through the waters of Atlantic Canada in the coming weeks.”
What to expect this season
This is the first taste of a hurricane season that is expected to bring more than a dozen storms.
Hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, but typically peaks between mid-August until the end of October.
Robichaud outlined what North Americans can expect.
Experts from both the Canadian the U.S. centres expect 10 to 16 named storms over the course of the next few months, he said. Five to nine may reach hurricane status, and one to four are expected to be major hurricanes.
“That is about average to slightly above average with respect to the number of storms,” he said.
Robichaud explained that the season may actually be toward the “lower end” of predictions, because the water currently is colder than expected.
“We can’t really predict where these things are going to go, what exactly is going to happen in Canada or anywhere else in the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. or the Caribbean,” he said.
“We have to wait until the storms actually form to get a better idea of where they’re actually going to go.”
Colorado State University, which releases hurricane predictions each year, said earlier this year that it would be an intense storm season with up to 18 storms.
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Forecasters at the university toned down that prediction this week, saying they now expect 11 named tropical storms, with four becoming hurricanes.
“As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted,” a July release from the university read.
How will it compare to last year?
The forecast for this year is relatively similar to what was predicted ahead of last year’s storm season.
But the season actually ended up being more severe.
There were six major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger) that pounded down along the east coast of North America. There were 17 storms in total and 10 hurricanes.
“We certainly expect the number of storms to be a bit less than it was last year. There were more conditions that were the right conditions for storms to develop,” Robichaud said.
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That’s welcome news after last year’s season which led to several deaths and left damage in several areas of the U.S., where recovery efforts are still underway.
The U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration defined it as “a hurricane season that wouldn’t quit,” in a November 2017 press release.
— With files from Reuters