Hurricane Beryl Forms in Atlantic Friday Morning
UPDATE (11AM): Beryl is a compact hurricane that had a pinhole eye for a few hours before more recently becoming cloud filled again.
Beryl has not gained much latitude and is still moving quickly westward at 15 mph. Beryl is expected to continue its westward to west-northwestward track through the forecast period.
It's becoming more likely that Beryl will maintain hurricane strength when it reaches the Lesser Antilles between 48 and 72 hours.
Hurricane watches could be needed for portions of the Lesser Antilles as soon as tonight.
UPDATE (8 AM): The National Hurricane Center is now giving Invest 96L an 80% chance of development over the next 5 days.
Per NHC, "Interests along the North Carolina and South Carolina coasts should monitor the progress of this system..."
System will be named Chris if development continues.
PREVIOUSLY: Beryl becomes the first hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Hurricane Beryl's small eye has become apparent in infrared satellite pictures early this morning.
Beryl is moving toward the west near 14 mph. A faster west-northwestward motion is expected through the weekend. On the forecast track, the center of Beryl will remain east of the Lesser Antilles through early Sunday.
Satellite data indicate the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph with higher gusts. Some additional strengthening is forecast today, but Beryl is forecast to quickly weaken by late Saturday and become a tropical storm near the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or Monday.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
Interests in the Lesser Antilles should monitor the progress of Beryl.
In addition to Hurricane Beryl, there is a disturbance (Invest 96L) off the East Coast where development is possible. An area of low pressure located about midway between the southeastern United States and Bermuda is producing disorganized showers and a few thunderstorms.
Environmental conditions appear conducive for some gradual development during the next couple of days while the system moves slowly northwestward then northward off the coast of North Carolina. Although the system is forecast to interact with a frontal zone early next week, it could linger off the southeast U.S. coast where some additional development is possible. Name will be Chris if it develops.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...medium...40 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...medium...50 percent.