The National Hurricane Center (N.H.C.) is no longer referring to Hurricane Beryl as a “tiny” storm expected to quickly degenerate. The hurricane, which was only two days ago a disturbance in the Atlantic, has continued to gain strength and remains organized while heading towards the Caribbean islands in the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and into late Sunday or Monday, according to N.H.C.
Dominica, an island that was leveled by Hurricane Maria and is still facing daunting challenges in wake of the Category 5 storm, is now under a hurricane watch. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area. Tropical storm or hurricane conditions are possible within the watch areas by late Sunday or Monday.
The N.H.C. said interests elsewhere in the Lesser Antilles should monitor the progress of Hurricane Beryl, as additional watches could be required for other islands tonight or early Saturday.
According to N.H.C.’s 5:00 p.m. advisory, the center of Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 10.6 North, longitude 47.8 West. 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 center of Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday.
Maximum sustained winds are 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 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.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 10 miles (20 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 994 mb (29.36 inches).