Hurricane Beryl gains strength as it heads toward islands

New predictions for hurricanes, storms in the Caribbean this season

A quick tropics update now as you may or may not have heard Tropical Storm Beryl officially formed in the Atlantic Ocean, which happened basically out of nowhere.

A cluster of clouds and rain has developed enough to become the Atlantic hurricane season's second named storm.

A tropical depression is a low-pressure system with thunderstorms that produce maximum winds of about 39 miles per hour.

At 5 p.m., National Hurricane Center forecasters said the storm, located less than 1,300 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, had sustained winds of 50 mph. Additional weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Beryl is likely to weaken to a tropical depression after moving across the Lesser Antilles. Dominica and Guadeloupe are under a tropical storm warning, while a tropical storm watch is in effect for Barbados, St Lucia, Martinique, St Maarten, St Martin, St Barthelemy, Saba and St Eustatius.

The hurricane is moving west at 15 miles per hour.

A major daily newspaper in the United States, the Washington Post, has reported the storm as "tiny and weak".

By the time it reaches the central Caribbean Tuesday, the storm system could dissipate into a just an area of low pressure.

Many worry Beryl will cause power outages across Puerto Rico given the fragility of the US territory's electrical grid after Maria destroyed up to 75 percent of its distribution lines a year ago.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center on Thursday began issuing advisories for Tropical Storm Beryl. Beryl is expected to weaken starting on Sunday or Monday.

Meanwhile, a separate storm, Tropical Depression Three, that formed off the Carolina coast on Friday afternoon also was slowing down. Cooler sea surface temperatures and strong trade winds created across the Atlantic Basin by the Pacific warm-water phenomena known as El Niño inhibit the growth of storms.

The NHC has recently been watching the storm for possible development.

The hurricane center didn't think so as of Thursday morning.

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