BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday July 6, 2018 – A hurricane watch has been issued for Dominica while four French Caribbean territories are under tropical storm watch, as an unpredictable Hurricane Beryl continues on a path towards the Lesser Antilles.
The government of France issued the watch for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Martin, and St Barthelemy this evening.
But the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) noted that given larger-than-normal uncertainties associated with Beryl’s future track and intensity, the governments and meteorological services of several of the countries in the Lesser Antilles chose to issue tropical storm or hurricane watches sooner than the typical 48-hour threshold for the onset of tropical storm-force winds.
At 8 p.m., Hurricane Beryl, carrying maximum sustained winds near 80 miles per hour, was about 925 miles east southeast of the Lesser Antilles and moving towards the west at 15 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said a faster westward to west-northwestward motion is expected to begin over the weekend and continue through early next week.
“On the forecast track, the centre of Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday,” the NHC advisory stated.
“Some strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Beryl could still be a hurricane when it reaches the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or Monday. Weakening is expected once Beryl reaches the eastern Caribbean Sea on Monday, but the system may not degenerate into an open trough until it reaches the vicinity of Hispaniola and the central Caribbean Sea.”
However, the NHC stressed that the intensity forecast remains highly uncertain given Beryl’s small size.
“The cyclone could just as easily dissipate into an open wave sooner than indicated in the official forecast,” it said.
Beryl’s hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 10 miles from the centre, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles.
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.
Meanwhile, the area of low pressure located a few hundred miles southeast of the North Carolina coast has developed into a tropical depression.
The NHC said that given that the system is moving over warm waters and in a low-shear environment, gradual strengthening is indicated, and the NHC forecast shows Tropical Depression 3 becoming a tropical storm on Saturday.
It said additional intensification could occur by the end of the forecast period when the cyclone moves northeastward away from the US coast and interacts with a mid-level trough.