Beryl becomes first hurricane of season

Saturday, 07 Jul, 2018

In an 11 p.m. advisory, National Hurricane Center forecasters said the storm continued to intensify Friday with sustained winds reaching 80 miles per hour.

However, the NHC is warning that changes to Beryl's intensity will be "difficult to predict" due to its small size. Beryl quickly strengthened into a hurricane and has maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour with higher gusts and is moving to the west at 14 miles per hour.

The storm strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane from a tropical storm early Friday morning. Regardless of strength, Beryl is expected to bring gusty winds and heavy rainfall to a small area of the Lesser Antilles Sunday and Sunday night. Hurricane force winds only extend out from the center by 10 miles.

The National Hurricane Center is tracking two systems in the Atlantic.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, spared Bermuda past year, but battered the Caribbean as well as the United States.

Beryl is moving to the west at around 15 miles per hour. It made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a subtropical storm and ushered drenching rains across states in the South and Midwest.

The hurricane might not weaken substantially until it gets near Hispaniola and the central Caribbean Sea, the hurricane center said in its latest storm advisory.

BEWARE OF MISINFORMATION: As you seek online information on these tropical systems, watch out for "hype sites" and provocative social media posts that only showcase the more dire computer forecast model solutions.

Another storm system now off the coast of North Carolina has a high likelihood of cyclone formation, according to NWS.

Meteorologist Odalys Martinez said in a phone interview that conditions would deteriorate late Sunday, with up to 3 inches (7.62 centimetres) of rain possible. The NHC noted that it's possible for the storm to deteriorate to an open wave before hitting the Lesser Antilles on Monday. This general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.

A unique aspect of Beryl, is that it is the furthest southeast that a named storm has ever formed this early in the hurricane season.

Beryl could still be a hurricane when it reaches the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or Monday.