Enlarge / Image of Hurricane Beryl captured from the International Space Station on Monday. (credit: Matthew Dominick/NASA)

Officially, of course, the Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1, But most years, the tropics remain fairly sleepy for the first month or two, allowing coastal residents to ease into the season.

Yes, a tropical storm might form here or a modest hurricane there. But the really big and powerful hurricanes, which develop from tropical waves in the central Atlantic and roar into the Caribbean Sea, do not spin up until August or September when seas reach their peak temperatures.

Not so this year, in which the Atlantic Ocean is boiling already. The seas in the main development region of the Atlantic have already reached temperatures not normally seen until August or September. This has led to the rapid intensification of Hurricane Beryl, which crashed through the Windward Islands on Monday and is now traversing the Caribbean Sea toward Jamaica.

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