A tropical depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Beryl on Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said.
Beryl remained very small, moving west-northwest at 17 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, shy of Category 1 status, according to an advisory issued at 5 p.m. ET by the National Hurricane Center.
"Beryl is forecast to degenerate into an open trough just east of the Lesser Antilles over the weekend".
"Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 miles per hour (85 km/h) with higher gusts".
But the compact storm, the first hurricane of the season, is still on a path that would take it over the Lesser Antillles and into the eastern Caribbean by Sunday night or early Monday. A hurricane watch is in effect for Dominica and a tropical storm watch is in effect for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.
The average Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, three of them major. However, forecasters say upper-level winds could make conditions unfavorable for sustaining the storm. It made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a subtropical storm and ushered drenching rains across states in the South and Midwest.
"Beryl is a tiny tropical storm".
Ms Davis said: "We're watching two areas in the Atlantic for possible tropical development". Here is a look at the discussion from the National Hurricane Center. A faster westward to west-northwestward motion is expected to begin over the weekend and continue through early next week.
Waters across much of the northern Atlantic are cooler than they have been in almost 30 years and an El Niño watch issued last month by the National Hurricane Center appears to be becoming more certain as wind shear, particularly in the Caribbean, has increased.
Beryl is not the only item of note in the tropics as we wrap up the first week of July.
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The depression was forecast to become a tropical storm on Saturday, with gradual strengthening expected through Monday . The National Hurricane Center is giving this system an 80 percent chance for development through the weekend.
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