Is Hurricane Beryl the sign of another dangerous storm season?

Climate change is fueling the frequency and intensity of storms

Illustration of a stormy sea, a mother and child evacuating and a map of the Caribbean
Climate change is fueling such an increase in storm intensity that scientists are discussing whether "there may be justification for a Category 6 hurricane classification."
(Image credit: Illustration by Stephen Kelly / Alamy / Getty Images)

There's no such thing as a good hurricane. But Hurricane Beryl is an "explosive and record-smashing" start to the 2024 hurricane season that is drawing real alarm from weather experts, said USA Today. It's the earliest Category 5 storm on record, with sustained winds of more than 150 mph — a sign that the storms will be coming fast and furious this year. "Unfortunately, Beryl is breaking records that were set in 1933 and 2005, two of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record," said Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University.  

Scientists were already predicting an "extraordinary" hurricane season this year, NPR said. Official forecasts suggested the season might bring as many as 25 named storms — a typical year brings 14 — with about a third of those developing into "full-blown hurricanes," and somewhere between four and seven "major hurricanes." That's the "largest number of storms ever forecast for the Atlantic." The biggest factor in the onslaught: "Abnormally high water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, where hurricanes form." Climate change is a big driver of that abnormality. That warm water? It's "fuel for storms."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Joel Mathis, The Week US

Joel Mathis is a freelance writer who has spent nine years as a syndicated columnist, co-writing the RedBlueAmerica column as the liberal half of a point-counterpoint duo. His work also regularly appears in National Geographic, The Kansas City Star and Heatmap News. His awards include best online commentary at the Online News Association and (twice) at the City and Regional Magazine Association.