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

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

Hurricane Beryl is a compact category 1 storm, churning at 75 miles per hour.

By midday Friday, Beryl was churning about 1,000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean; it's expected to reach land by late Sunday or early Monday.

As of 5 am today, the center of Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 10.6 North and longitude 45.1 West.

The National Hurricane Center predicted that the storm should hit the islands by 2 a.m. Monday.

Beryl strengthened into the first hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season east of the Lesser Antilles early Friday. But heavy rain and gusty wind could still hammer parts of the islands.

Satellite data indicate the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Also in the tropics the National Hurricane Center now gives an area of showers and storms just off the Carolina coast a 70% chance of developing into a tropical depression in the next 48 hours. However, the shear will increase as the system moves toward the Lesser Antilles and is forecast to weaken.

Officials said they will open 424 shelters across Puerto Rico as a preventive measure and urged people to monitor the storm's progress.

The hurricane center has been monitoring it for days, and said rain and storms have been increasing as of Friday morning.

Hurricane Beryl is expected to affect the British Virgin Islands late Sunday.

However, the emergence of Beryl serves as a timely reminder that, despite the long-term forecast of much less activity this season than first believed, storms are always unpredictable.