Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Tropical Storm Beryl weakens as it moves into Caribbean

Tropical Storm Beryl weakens as it moves into Caribbean

Tiny Beryl has become the first hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The storm crossed directly over Dominica more than nine months after Hurricane Maria hit the island as a Category 5 storm and killed dozens of people.

Weather forecasters say Tropical Storm Chris is likely to strengthen to a hurricane by Monday but will remain well away from the US coast for the next two or three days. The updated NHC forecast shows Beryl reaching the Lesser Antilles as a tropical storm, but it is possible that the system will have degenerated into an open trough by that time.

There's an outside chance Beryl, which was at the low end of the tropical storm scale Thursday afternoon, could become a hurricane, according to National Hurricane Center hurricane specialist Robbie Berg. Dominica's meteorological service said weather conditions would start deteriorating Saturday night and warned of at least four inches of rain, with the storm expected to pass over or near Dominica on Sunday night.

Hurricane Beryl's maximum sustained winds reached 80 miles per hour on Friday. The hurricane force winds only extend 10 miles out from the center.

The intensifying, slow-moving storm will lumber along the coast of the Carolinas, ripping currents and tearing surf across mid-Atlantic beaches during a period over the next week or so. It was located about 965 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles. The center now says Beryl could "still be a hurricane when it reaches the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or Monday", but it's expected to weaken when it hits the eastern Caribbean Sea on Monday.

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Numerous houses in both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico remain damaged from the 2017 hurricanes.

A tropical storm warning remained in effect for Dominica and Guadeloupe, while a tropical storm watch was issued for Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.

Additional strengthening is forecast over the next 24 to 36 hours.

Tropical Depression Three, meanwhile, sits off the coast of North Carolina, moving in a generally northern direction.

As Tropical Storm Beryl approaches, Puerto Ricans are preparing by stocking up on food and supplies, leaving long lines at stores.

The National Weather Service described the center as "poorly defined".

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