Hurricane Beryl has been fluctuating between 75 and 80 miles per hour according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5:00 a.m. Saturday forecast, but the hurricane is expected to be at or near hurricane strength as it approaches the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or early Monday.
Barbados and St. Lucia are now under tropical watch. A tropical storm watch is also in effect for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.
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.
N.H.C. said Beryl is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches through Sunday across the southern Leeward Islands and northern Windward Islands, including Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, and Barbados. Elsewhere across the northern Leeward and southern Windward Islands, rainfall amounts of 2 inches or less are expected.
At 5:00 a.m., the center of Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 11.1 North, longitude 49.8 West, according to N.H.C. Beryl is moving toward the west-northwest near 14 mph (22 km/h). A west- northwestward motion with some increase in forward speed is expected during the next few days. 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 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts. Due to the small size of the hurricane, short-term changes in intensity, up or down, could occur over the next day or two, but Beryl is forecast to be near hurricane strength as it nears the Lesser Antilles. 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 on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Beryl is a small hurricane. 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 995 mb (29.39 inches).