'Tiny Beryl' is the first 2018 hurricane in the Atlantic

Ignacio Smith
July 10, 2018

The Caribbean island of Dominica, ravaged by the deadly passage of Hurricane Maria past year, was again under a hurricane watch Friday as the first such storm of the 2018 Atlantic season moved toward the Lesser Antilles.

As of 11 p.m. Monday, Chris was centered about 200 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras and had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

Hurricane Beryl lost some strength overnight but is still packing maximum-sustained winds of 75 miles per hour as it moves toward the Caribbean. At this time, Beryl is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression by Monday morning and dissipate shortly after due to increased wind shear in the Caribbean Sea. The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said a faster westward to west-northwestward motion is expected to begin over the weekend and continue through early next week.

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Tropical Storm Chris continues to meander off the coast of North Carolina. There are no coastal watches or warnings.

Earlier, the hurricane center had described the storm as "Tiny Beryl" because of "its very small size".

Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour on Friday afternoon as it churned across the water. The storm is forecast to intensify into a hurricane over the next several days but remain off the coast before zipping off toward Newfoundland late in the week. Elsewhere across the northern Leeward and southern Windward Islands, rainfall amounts of 2 inches or less are expected.

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Beryl is the name given to the first named Cabo Verde-style storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius.

After it passes Bermuda, the system has the potential to strengthen into a hurricane because of warm sea surface temperatures and favourable winds.

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Regardless of development, locally heavy rains and gusty winds are likely over portions of Hispaniola and the Bahamas as the remnants of Beryl move through those areas. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello declared a state of emergency for the island and suspended work for Monday, partly because its electricity grid is particularly vulnerable after Hurricane Maria caused damages to it estimated at $100 billion, the AP reported.

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