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First Atlantic hurricane puts Dominica on alert

07 July 2018

Hurricane Beryl continued churning across the Atlantic Friday night with little change in its course or strength, according to the National Hurricane Center.

However, "due to its very small size, there is greater-than-usual uncertainty in the analysis of Beryl's current intensity" and "rapid changes in intensity, both up and down, that are hard to predict are possible during the next couple days", the National Hurricane Center warns.

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On Friday, the National Hurricane Center upgraded a tropical storm in the central Atlantic to Hurricane Beryl, with top wind speeds of 80 miles per hour. The storm was moving west-northwest at 14 miles per hour.

Hurricane Beryl, while tiny in size, will approach the Lesser Antilles late this weekend or early next week, and its chances of striking the Antilles as a hurricane are increasing.

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Beryl formed Friday and was a Category 1 storm late in the day. The storm's hurricane-force winds are only 20 miles wide, relatively small for a hurricane, so Beryl's behavior is especially unpredictable.

The official forecast track from the National Hurricane Center takes Beryl to the eastern Caribbean Sea over the weekend. The projected wind speeds also came down a tad to an expected peak at 90 miles per hour in two days, but forecasters stressed there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding Beryl. Lojero also warned that the storm is expected to dump up to four inches (10 centimeters) of rain and could unleash landslides. A cold front was expected to push it further north, but latest forecast by the NWS says the low pressure system may linger off the coast for a while, and some development is possible. Some additional strengthening is forecast today.

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The next update on Hurricane Beryl will be issued by the Dominica Meteorological Service at 2:00 pm. "The hurricane center cautioned those along the coast in North and SC to continue to monitor the system, which has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression over the next few days", reported on July 6. It will likely strengthen on Saturday to a tropical storm. Regardless, interests from the Lesser Antilles through Haiti and the Dominican Republic should monitor the progress of Beryl closely.

First Atlantic hurricane puts Dominica on alert