Hurricane Beryl gains strength as it heads toward islands

Hurricane Beryl and other tropical storm names of the 2018 hurricane season

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.

Beryl is an unusually small hurricane, a characteristic that forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say make it hard to measure and predict.

Beryl is the Atlantic's first hurricane of 2018.

Beryl had sustained winds Friday of 80 miles per hour, which were expected to strengthen over the next few days. It will most likely return to its tropical storm status by late Sunday or Monday as it approaches the Lesser Antilles.

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Interests elsewhere in the Lesser Antilles should monitor the progress of Beryl, as additional watches could be required for other islands tonight or early Saturday.

The depression is expected to remain offshore and will have maximum sustained winds of 30 miles per hour. Dominica was hit by Hurricane Maria previous year as a Category 5 storm and hasn't fully recovered.

The storm is heading west-northwestward towards the Lesser Antilles at a fairly slow pace but is expected to gain forward momentum through the weekend. National Hurricane Center weather outlook.

Puerto Rico, which just finished restoring power to all of its municipalities on July 1 - 284 days after Maria made landfall - is simply not ready for another storm.

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Hurricane Beryl still poses no threat to Florida as of Friday morning. The storm, while small, is packing a punch as it churns in the open Atlantic, closer to the Lesser Antilles.

The Met Office assured the public that Trinidad and Tobago is not under any Tropical Storm watch or warning.

A disturbance is being watched off the southeastern United States coast.

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