Hurricane Beryl strengthening; Disturbance developing off Carolina coast

Hurricane Beryl strengthening; Disturbance developing off Carolina coast

Beryl is expected to hit the eastern Caribbean as a hurricane instead of dissipating, threatening islands still trying to recover from last year's storms, forecasters said Friday.

Tropical Storm Beryl formed Thursday afternoon in the tropical Atlantic Ocean.

Beryl could get even stronger over the next day or so, then weaken to a tropical storm or even a trough by the time it reaches Hispaniola, where impact with land and unfavorable conditions should destroy it.

Beryl is now expected to pass near Dominica and the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique early Monday as a tropical wave and then continue south of Puerto Rico. Temperatures will be in the 90's.

Hurricane Beryl was moving westward Friday morning as it was over 1100 miles to the east of the Leeward Islands, according to the 5 am EDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The red X shows the location of a tropical disturbance that might strengthen into a tropical depression or a tropical storm during the next few days.

As of noon on Friday, Beryl was packing maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

Because it's so small - winds extend just 35 miles from its center - forecasters said the storm could continue to morph quickly. On Friday morning, the hurricane was about 1,140 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles where the BVI is located. "Due to its very small size, there is greater-than-usual uncertainty in the analysis of Beryl's current intensity".

The Atlantic has its first hurricane of the season.

It dumped heavy rain on the southeastern United States.