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

Beryl was a compact storm, with hurricane force winds extending out about 10 miles (20 kilometres) from its centre.

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.

Earlier, the NHC described the storm as "Tiny Beryl" because of "its very small size". Sunday is the day when it will most likely move through the easternmost islands of the Caribbean.

- The first hurricane of the 2018 season has formed, but it's not expected to hold its strength for too long.

The storm strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane from a tropical storm early Friday morning. Even more worrisome: Beryl's path takes it dangerously close to tiny Dominica, an island-nation of 75,000 people still struggling to recover after taking a direct hit from Hurricane Maria previous year.

Government forecasters are advising residents and vacationers in the Carolinas to closely monitor the progress of this storm system, which is expected to drift slowly northwestward this weekend towards the North Carolina coast, where it might stall or meander.

Some of the islands in Beryl's path have not yet fully recovered from last year's devastating storms. We now have two simultaneous tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, Hurricane Beryl east of the Lesser Antilles and newly minted Tropical Depression Three just off the Carolina coast.

NOAA's National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest update: "The eye of Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 10.7 North, longitude 46.5 West. Beryl is moving toward the west near 15 miles per hour (24 km/h)".

Beryl is forecast to approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday.

On its current track, forecasters say the system poses no direct threat to any of the islands. The area of low pressure located midway between the southeastern United States and Bermuda has become sufficiently organized as to be officially declared Tropical Depression Three.

Vanessa Coleman

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