Beryl becomes the first hurricane this season


Hurricane Beryl is now the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2018 season, and forecasters said that the storm may reach the Lesser Antilles Islands by Sunday. A tropical storm watch was issued for the French Caribbean territories of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barts. The storm still had maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (75 kph) late Sunday afternoon.

The National Hurricane Centre warned storm Beryl was expected to produce up to three inches of rain through Monday in the souther Leeward and northern Windward Islands. Though not now under any advisories, the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic should be monitoring Beryl's progress.

The storm was also described as a "compact hurricane".

Swells generated by Chris are expected to increase and affect portions of the coasts of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic states into early next week.

In a statement on Saturday night, Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said even though the storm has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, citizens must not get complacent. Maximum sustained winds were at 75 miles per hour with a minimum central pressure of 995 mb.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has confirmed that a storm named Beryl is the first hurricane of the 2018 season.

The hurricane center noted early Sunday that many forecast models have shifted the path for Chris south and westward.

As of 8 a.m. Sunday, Beryl was about 150 miles east northeast from Barbados and 285 miles east of Martinque with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, according to NHC. It will continue to weaken before it reaches the islands, only bringing about an inch or 2 of rain.

A potential impact on Puerto Rico, still recovering after Maria's devastation, remained unclear. "Its forecast track keeps it lingering off the coast for a couple days".

Hurricane Beryl might still be at hurricane strength when it reaches the Lesser Antilles where the British Virgin Islands is located.