(NEWSnet/AP) – Hurricane Beryl's explosive growth shows the literal hot water the Atlantic and Caribbean are in right now and what to expect from the tropical storm season ahead, experts said.

To start with: Beryl smashed multiple records while spinning along a southern route that’s unusual for any hurricane. And then here's what happened:

For all practical purposes, Beryl acted more like storms that form later during hurricane season because of water temperatures that are already as hot or hotter than the region normally gets in September, hurricane experts told The Associated Press.

“Beryl is unprecedentedly strange,” said Weather Underground co-founder Jeff Masters, a former government hurricane meteorologist who flew into storms. “It is so far outside the climatology that you look at it and you say, ‘How did this happen in June?’”

Forecasters predicted months ago it was going to be a nasty year and now they are comparing it to record busy 1933 and deadly 2005 — the year of Katrina, Rita, Wilma and Dennis.

“This is the type of storm that we expect this year, these outlier things that happen when and where they shouldn't,” University of Miami tropical weather researcher Brian McNoldy said. “Not only for things to form and intensify and reach higher intensities, but increase the likelihood of rapid intensification. All of that is just coming together right now, and this won't be the last time.”

Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach called Beryl “a harbinger potentially of more interesting stuff coming down the pike. Not that Beryl isn't interesting in and of itself, but even more potential threats and more — and not just a one off — maybe several of these kinds of storms coming down later.”

The water temperature around Beryl is about 2 to 3.6 degrees above normal at 84 degrees, which “is great if you are a hurricane,” Klotzbach said.

Warm water acts as fuel for the thunderstorms and clouds that form hurricanes. The warmer the water and thus the air at the bottom of the storm, the better the chance it will rise higher in the atmosphere and create deeper thunderstorms, said University University at Albany atmospheric scientist Kristen Corbosiero.

Sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean “are above what the average September (peak season) temperature should be looking at the last 30-year average,” Masters said.

It's not just hot water at the surface that matters. The ocean heat content — which measures deeper water that storms need to keep powering up — is way beyond record levels for this time of year and at what the September peak should be, McNoldy said.

“So when you get all that heat energy you can expect some fireworks,” Masters said.

This year, there's also a significant difference between water temperature and upper air temperature throughout the tropics.

The greater that difference is, the more likely it becomes that storms will form and get bigger, said MIT hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel.

Atlantic waters have been unusually hot since March 2023 and record warm since April 2023. Klotzbach said a high pressure system that normally sets up cooling trade winds collapsed then and hasn't returned.

A brewing La Niña, which is a slight cooling of the Pacific that changes weather worldwide, also may be a factor. Experts say La Niña tends to depress high altitude crosswinds that decapitate hurricanes; a La Niña usually means more hurricanes in the Atlantic and fewer in the Pacific.

This year, the Eastern Pacific had zero storms in May and June, something that's only happened twice before in modern times, Klotzbach said.

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