Hurricane Beryl Is Tiny, Unpredictable

Geraldine Edwards
July 8, 2018

Still recovering from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Dominica is now battening down to prepare for the first hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Hurricane Beryl.

At 5 a.m. Hurricane "Beryl" was located near 11.1N 49.8W or about 670 miles (1 080) km east of Barbados with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h). Forecasters said Beryl would weaken further after entering the Caribbean late Sunday or early Monday.

Many worry Beryl will cause power outages across Puerto Rico given the fragility of the US territory's electrical grid after Maria destroyed up to 75 percent of its distribution lines.

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"Across the remainder of the Leeward and Windward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, rainfall amounts of one to two inches with locally higher amounts are expected", it added. "They should not let their guard down", he said.

The National Hurricane Centre said Beryl "is still forecast to weaken or dissipate as a tropical cyclone before reaching the Lesser Antilles".

"Residents in Dominica are advised to monitor the system as some strengthening is expected and a Hurricane Watch could be issued for the island later today".

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Earlier, the hurricane center had described the storm as "Tiny Beryl" because of "its very small size". Hurricane force winds only extend out from the center by 10 miles.

This graphic from the National Hurricane Center shows the projected path of Tropical Storm Beryl on Saturday, July 7, 2018.

The government of France has also issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy. This area of showers and thunderstorms will not directly impact land before it is absorbed by an approaching cold front on Sunday. Both are in Canada.

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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. With Alberto forming before June 1st, the official start of the hurricane season, this is the fourth consecutive year in which a preseason storm forms. It made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a subtropical storm and ushered drenching rains across states in the South and Midwest.

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