Hurricane Beryl heads for Caribbean islands; separate tropical depression forms near Carolinas

New predictions for hurricanes, storms in the Caribbean this season

National Hurricane Center monitoring two tropical disturbances

Meteorologists at National Hurricane Center have upgraded a mid-Atlantic tropical depression to Tropical Storm Beryl, calling the storm's rapid development a surprise.

Beryl strengthened into the first hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season early Friday morning east of the Lesser Antilles. Weakening is expected once Beryl reaches the eastern Caribbean Sea on Monday, but the system may not degenerate into an open trough until it reaches the vicinity of Hispaniola and the central Caribbean Sea.

Dominica issued a hurricane watch, while a tropical storm watch was in effect for the islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, spared Bermuda a year ago, but battered the Caribbean as well as the United States.

In the pre-dawn hours of July 5, 2018, the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite provided a visible light image of Tropical Depression Two.

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Beryl is expected to reach the Leeward Islands on Sunday and could reach Category 2 status.

The depression is moving toward the north-northwest near 5 miles per hour and is forecast to slow down and meander well offshore of the coast of the Carolinas through Monday.

This after cooler waters in the Atlantic and a possible El Nino developing which typically means fewer overall hurricanes will form. It was located about 965 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.

Beryl won't have much impact to anyone, it's a tiny storm drifting through a very unfriendly environment for storms it is surrounded by dry air and high wind shear. Storm force winds extend just 35 miles from Beryl's center.

New predictions from Colorado State University suggest for a total of 11 named storms will develop this season, a drop from the original prediction of 14.

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