Tiny Beryl becomes a hurricane

Tropical Storm Beryl could become hurricane on Friday

According to the National Hurricane Center, Beryl is still expected to approach the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or early Monday, and move south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later on Monday night. At 8 a.m. Saturday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kph).

Hurricane Beryl, which the National Hurricane Center described as a small storm in terms of area coverage but a "brazen" one, was forecast to pass through the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or Monday. Forecasters could downgrade Beryl to a tropical storm if it loses intensity.

On Saturday morning, the chance of tropical storm force winds lashing Puerto Rico was set at 20- to 30-percent, but the government is opening shelters as a precaution. Hurricane force winds only extend out from the center by 10 miles.

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Recent satellite images suggest that Beryl is becoming less organized, according to the National Hurricane Center. Small storms can morph quickly - Beryl flared up from a depression Thursday morning to a hurricane in less than 24 hours. The present movement of Beryl is west or 275o at 15 miles per hour (24 km/h).

Berg said forecasters aren't expecting it to move inland, "but it could get close enough to the coast to cause some impacts like wind and heavy rain".

Hurricane Beryl is expected to produce 2 to 4 inches of rain through Sunday across the southern Leeward Islands and northern Windward Islands.

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Beryl is forecast to strengthen as it tracks westward.

Still, the size of the storm has weather watchers on alert. The NHC noted that it's possible for the storm to deteriorate to an open wave before hitting the Lesser Antilles on Monday. A faster west-northwestward motion is expected through the weekend. "The hurricane center cautioned those along the coast in North and SC to continue to monitor the system, which has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression over the next few days", Alabama.com reported on July 6.

The path of the relatively tiny Hurricane Beryl is now tracking westwards through the Atlantic in the general direction of Puerto Rico.

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