Beryl becomes season's first hurricane, but it may not last long

Beryl becomes season's first hurricane, but it may not last long

Beryl strengthened into a hurricane early Friday morning, and is being referred to as "Tiny Beryl", due to its very small size for a storm, the National Weather Service explained.

Hurricane season is officially underway, thanks to Tropical Storm Beryl.

Interests in the Lesser Antilles should monitor the progress of Beryl, as hurricane watches could be needed for some of the islands by tonight.

The GOES-East satellite photo shows Hurricane Beryl toward the lower right. Current forecast take it into the Lesser Antilles by this weekend and along the Florida coast by next week.

The depression was forecast to become a tropical storm on Saturday, with gradual strengthening expected through Monday. The storm's hurricane-force winds are only 20 miles wide, relatively small for a hurricane, so Beryl's behavior is especially unpredictable.

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The storm is moving toward the Lesser Antilles, where it is expected to encounter wind shear. Despite the predicted weakening, residents in some of the islands along Beryl's path should be prepared for heavy showers and occasional gusty winds. Even though it's not expected to become a threat to the USA mainland, the hurricane's future remains uncertain, as the forecast keeps changing.

Beryl is precocious, in that the first hurricane in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, on average doesn't form until August 10. The system will move northwestward and stall, or meander, near the coast of North Carolina over the weekend.

Beryl's sustained winds are around 75 mph and extend just 10 miles from her center, while her Tropical storm force winds extend out only 35 miles.

A disturbance is being watched off the southeastern United States coast.

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