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

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Tropical Storm Beryl formed Thursday afternoon in the tropical Atlantic Ocean.

A faster westward to west-northwestward motion is expected to begin over the weekend and continue through early next week.

Weakening is expected once Beryl reaches the eastern Caribbean Sea on Monday, but the National Hurricane Center said the system may not degenerate into an open trough until it reaches Hispaniola and the central Caribbean Sea.

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

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Beryl is now expected to pass near Dominica and the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique early Monday as a tropical wave and then continue south of Puerto Rico.

Forecasters originally though Beryl would weaken before hitting the Lesser Antilles, but now they say it will remain a hurricane when it reaches those islands late Sunday or on Monday.

"Beryl is also a very small storm".

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.

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Beyond that time frame, the ultimate path and intensity of Beryl or its leftovers is unknown.

Hurricane Beryl's small eye has become apparent in infrared satellite pictures early this morning.

"Just make sure your general hurricane season preparations are complete", said WLOX First Alert Meteorologist Wesley Williams on Friday.

"Residents and visitors are encouraged to expedite preparations as we are moving further into 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season".

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