Tropical Storm Beryl Forms off Lesser Antilles, Surprising Forecasters, And Could Become Season’s First Hurricane

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday July 5, 2018 – A day after the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said it had its eye on what could become Tropical Storm Beryl, a storm has formed, but not from the system that was initially on their radar.

Beryl developed between the west coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles this afternoon from a tropical wave that was several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands yesterday.

“Beryl has been a bit of a surprise today,” the Miami-based NHC said, although noting that this is not uncommon for tiny tropical cyclones such as Beryl.

In its latest update at 5 p.m., the NHC said Beryl could become a hurricane by tomorrow or Saturday, but should be well east of the Lesser Antilles at that time and should dissipate by weekend.

The tiny Beryl, whose tropical storm force winds extend only up to 35 miles, was carrying maximum sustained winds near 50 miles per hour at 5 p.m. It was located about 1,295 miles east southeast of the Lesser Antilles and moving towards the west at 16 miles per hour.

“A fast westward to west-northwestward motion is expected through the weekend. On the forecast track, the center of Beryl will remain east of the Lesser Antilles through Sunday,” the NHC said. “Additional strengthening is forecast, and Beryl could become a hurricane by Friday or Saturday. Beryl is forecast to degenerate into an open trough just east of the Lesser Antilles over the weekend.”

But the forecasters said even though the storm is expected to dissipate early next week, the remnant tropical wave will continue moving quickly westward and will likely bring locally heavy rains and gusty winds to portions of the Leeward Islands on Sunday and Monday.

Meantime, the trough of low pressure between the United States and Bermuda, that was thought could develop into Tropical Storm Beryl, is forecast to interact with a frontal system on Sunday, which should limit any additional development.

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