Beryl intensifies to a Category 1 hurricane

Tropical Depression Beryl is seen in this NASA handout satellite image dated

THREE: The forecast from the National Hurricane Center calls for gradual strengthening to Tropical Storm status by Saturday with continued strengthening through Monday.

But at 8 a.m. Saturday, its sustained winds were at 75 miles per hour - where it appears to be peaking - and the storm was moving west-northwest at 14 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center reported. The storm had sustained winds of 80 mph, and hurricane-force winds extend 10 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds 35 miles from the center. "On the forecast track, the center of Hurricane Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday". But it now looks like Beryl will maintain hurricane strength as it crosses the islands late Sunday or early Monday, they said. Tropical Storm Alberto was the season's first, which developed in late May.

Maximum sustained winds are now 30 miles per hour.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, spared Bermuda past year, but battered the Caribbean as well as the United States. How these factors come into balance will be crucial in determining how strong Beryl is when it moves through the Lesser Antilles Sunday afternoon into Sunday night. Lojero also warned that the storm is expected to dump up to four inches of rain and could unleash landslides.

Central Florida will see more storms on Friday.

In a press briefing on Thursday, Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, said that, despite the storm's expected weakening, Beryl remains "a danger due to the vulnerable condition of Puerto Rico". A favorable weather pattern during the next few hours will help the storm strengthen before it reaches the Lesser Antilles and dives into the warmer Caribbean Sea waters.

Beryl is a very compact hurricane.

The hurricane center predicts the storm will continue its path heading northwest off the coast of North Carolina. Less favorable conditions are expected to weaken the storm by the weekend as Beryl encounters much greater wind shear conditions and drier air being advected into the path of the system.

Beryl is the Atlantic's first hurricane of 2018.

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