Beryl becomes the first hurricane this season

Tropical Storm Beryl could become hurricane on Friday

Tropical Storm Beryl could become hurricane on Friday

The hurricane gained strength Friday morning and was a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of almost 80 miles per hour (130 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center.

"Some strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Beryl could still be a hurricane when it reaches the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or Monday", the agency said. The storm was moving west-northwest at 14 miles per hour. Forecasters say it is unlikely to have much impact on the island, which is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria a year ago.

"If this trend continues, then Beryl may be downgraded to a tropical storm later this morning".

Satellite data indicate the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds only extend out from the center by 10 miles. "Confidence in the official intensity forecast is also much lower than normal", the National Hurricane Center said when issue a warning on July 6.

A National Hurricane Center image shows the projected path of Hurricane Beryl, as of early June 6, 2018.

Beryl is not expected to pose any threat to the USA mainland.

The hurricane center warns that "swells generated by the depression are expected to increase and affect portions of the coasts of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic states this weekend".

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.

While the US doesn't need to be overly concerned with Hurricane Beryl at this time, there is another story that is sitting off the coast of the Carolinas. The system is forecast to move slowly northwestward and could meander or stall near the North Carolina coast over the weekend. It will likely strengthen on Saturday to a tropical storm.

In a press briefing on Thursday, Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, said that, despite the storm's expected weakening, Beryl remains "a danger due to the vulnerable condition of Puerto Rico".

Those in the Lesser Antilles, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti should monitor the progress of Beryl.

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