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.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) described Beryl as a Category 1 storm with winds of 80 mph. It’s moving west at 15 mph.
“A faster westward to west-northwestward motion is expected to begin over the weekend and continue through early next week,” the NHC said. “On the forecast track, the center of Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday.”
The agency said that additional strengthening is expected over the next several days.
“Beryl is expected to still be a hurricane when it reaches the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or Monday. Weakening is expected once Beryl reaches the eastern Caribbean Sea on Monday, but the system may not degenerate into an open trough until it reaches the vicinity of Hispaniola and the central Caribbean Sea,” the NHC said.
The storm was also described as a “compact hurricane.”
There are no watches or warnings from the agency, but it said “Interests in the Lesser Antilles should monitor the progress of Beryl, as hurricane watches could be needed for some of the islands by tonight.”
“Because of the small size of Beryl and anticipated weakening, widespread wind damage is not expected,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda.
There might be a threat to lives and property.
“Beryl, the second tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, and the first classified as a hurricane is heading toward the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and is expected to make landfall in Puerto Rico Sunday afternoon and continue to impact the island into Monday night,” added Dr. Joel Myers, founder of AccuWeather.
He added: “While the storm is expected to weaken by the time it reaches Puerto Rico and probably will not be a hurricane, but a weak tropical storm, it still will carry significant moisture, resulting in general rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches, which is not a heavy amount. However, there is likely to be local spots that get up to 6 inches of rain, which could cause local flooding.”