First Atlantic hurricane puts Dominica on alert

Beryl becomes the first hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season

"Beryl, the second tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, and the first classified as a hurricane is heading toward the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and will approach Puerto Rico on Monday".

Currently, Beryl is moving west-northwest at about 18 miles per hour (29 km/h) and had maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (72 km/h).

Beryl is expected to move through the Lesser Antilles tonight and weaken to a tropical wave by Monday, according to the hurricane center.

A depression that has been lingering off the North Carolina coast has formed into Tropical Storm Chris and is expected to strengthen. A west- northwestward motion with some increase in forward speed is expected during the next few days.

"Most of the guidance suggests that the tropical-storm-force winds associated with the cyclone will occur in the eastern quadrant well away from the USA coast".

A tropical storm warning was in place in Dominica, replacing an earlier hurricane watch, and Guadeloupe.

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Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Beryl was downgraded from a hurricane on Saturday.

Reports from the reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 miles per hour with higher gusts. A tropical storm watch remained for Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) says that in anticipation of a potential impact from Hurricane Beryl, it has activated its Regional Coordination Plan (RCP) and the CDEMA Coordinating Unit is undertaking preparatory actions. It is forecast to pass about 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Puerto Rico on Monday, but forecasters said the storm-wracked USA territory could experience winds of more than 40 mph (64 kph) and flooding and mudslides from up to four inches (10 centimeters) of rain.

Still, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello has declared a state of emergency for the island that is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricanes Maria and Irma a year ago.

Forecasters said Beryl would likely weaken further after crossing the Lesser Antilles.

In its 11 a.m. Saturday update, the NHC said Beryl was about 720 miles east southeast of the Lesser Antilles on a track towards Dominica, then skirting south of the territory and Puerto Rico.

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