Hurricane Beryl could hit islands still recovering from last year's storms

07 July, 2018, 19:08 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Tropical Depression Beryl is seen in this NASA handout satellite image dated

The Category 1 hurricane, the first of the 2018 Atlantic season, strengthened from a tropical depression to a hurricane within 24 hours, surprising specialists who dubbed it "Brazen Beryl". It was located about 1,045 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles as of 11 a.m. Friday. Beryl is moving west at 14 miles per hour.

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.

Maximum sustained winds are near 75 miles per hour or 120 km/h with higher gusts. The hurricane force winds extend outwards just 10 miles; the tropical storm force winds extend outward just 35 miles.

"It is possible that we could have hurricane watches up for some of those islands by tonight", said Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center.

A hurricane watch was issued for Dominica, which was battered by Hurricane Maria in September as a Category 5 storm.

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The storm is expected to encounter a hostile environment over the weekend and on Monday once it reaches the Caribbean Sea.

"Because of the small size of Beryl and anticipated weakening, widespread wind damage is not expected", said AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda. A west-northwestward motion with some increase in forward speed is expected during the next few days.

- The first hurricane of the 2018 season has formed, but it's not expected to hold its strength for too long. "Guidance continues to suggest that the forecast tropical-storm-force winds associated with the cyclone will not reach the USA coast", the hurricane center said. Looking at the 850 mb vorticity, which shows the structure of the storm (see Fig. 2), shows Invest 96 L is compact and circular which is a positive sign for further development into a tropical cyclone (tropical depression or tropical storm) in the near future. Residents of the Lesser Antilles should closely monitor the storm.

Earlier this week, the tropical meteorology research team at Colorado State University (CSU) Department of Atmospheric Sciences made adjustments to the original Atlantic Hurricane season forecast released back in early April.

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