Hurricane Beryl gains strength as it heads toward islands

New predictions for hurricanes, storms in the Caribbean this season

A cluster of clouds and rain has developed enough to become the Atlantic hurricane season's second named storm. As of 11 a.m., the depression is now heading west at 16 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour. Tiny (now) Tropical Storm Beryl defied the odds and unexpectedly strengthened (briefly) into a hurricane despite a rather hostile environment of cooler than normal waters, dry air, and Saharan dust.

Upper-level winds will become hostile by the time the system nears the Lesser Antilles this weekend. If it persists with a closed circulation of low pressure, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) may initiate advisories on Tropical Depression Two at any time.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65 miles per hour with higher gusts. On the forecast track, the centre of Beryl will remain east of the Lesser Antilles through Sunday. Beryl remains a very compact cyclone with tropical force winds only extending out 35 miles from the center.

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As of 2 p.m. Saturday the center of Tropical Depression 3 was located about 300 miles off the coast of Myrtle Beach. Beryl is the first mid-Atlantic storm to develop in July since 2014, while Alberto marked the fourth season in a row with a tropical system developing before the "official" start of the season on June 1. "Locally heavy rains and gusty winds" are likely on the Leeward Islands Sunday and Monday, the National Hurricane Center said. The newest update for your First Alert weather app will allow you to customize individual alerts (severe storms, tornadoes, floods, etc.).

In the Atlantic, there are two waves we're watching.

On Monday, Colorado State University cut its forecast for named storms to 11, from the 14 it predicted in May. It was expected to continue to move quickly west to northwest through the weekend.

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