Beryl strengthens, hurricane watch issued for Dominica

The 5 p.m. position of Hurricane Beryl. (NHC)

(Barbados Nation) Hurricane Beryl, while tiny in size, is intensifying in the Atlantic Ocean well east of the Lesser Antilles, and its chances of striking the Antilles as a hurricane early next week are increasing.

At 5 p.m. the centre of Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 10.6 N, longitude 47.8 W. Beryl is moving toward the west near 15 mph (24 km/h). A faster westward to west-northwestward motion is expected to begin over the weekend and continue through early next week.

On the forecast track, the centre of Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late tomorrow or Monday.

The government of Barbados has issued a hurricane watch for Dominica, while the government of France has issued a tropical storm watch for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Martin, and St Barthelemy.

Beryl has maximum sustained winds near 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Beryl could still be a hurricane when it reaches the Lesser Antilles late tomorrow 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.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 10 miles (20 km) from the centre, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km).

Beryl is currently located over 900 miles east-southeast of the Windward Islands, moving due west.

A hurricane hunter mission is scheduled to investigate Beryl and its surroundings early tomorrow. 

If the wind shear kicks in later, Beryl may survive as a hurricane by the time it reaches the Lesser Antilles.

If the wind shear kicks in earlier, Beryl may weaken sooner, and may sweep into the islands as a weaker storm.

Given Beryl’s tiny size, it’s too soon to determine which islands may see impacts and how strong the impacts will be, but periods of heavy rain, gusty winds and at least some locally choppy seas can be expected, regardless. (The Weather Channel/National Hurricane Center)

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