Tropical Storm Beryl disintegrates as it zips to Caribbean

A low-pressure system and tropical wave in the central Atlantic shows a 70 percent change of developing into a tropical depression in the next five days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Gusty winds began to hit the eastern Caribbean on Sunday as Tropical Storm Beryl moved rapidly toward a region struggling to recover from last year's deadly hurricanes.

Tropical Storm Chris is expected to become a hurricane on Tuesday and is forecast to accelerate northeastward on Wednesday and Thursday.

"Tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect for portions of the Lesser Antilles, where Beryl is forecast to bring impacts from wind and rainfall to some of the islands beginning late today or tonight", the National Hurricane Center said in a statement.

Meteorologist Marshall Alexander told The Associated Press that officials were anxious about people still living with tarps on their roofs after Hurricane Maria slammed into Dominica as a Category 5 storm a year ago, killing dozens of people.

About 7,000 houses and businesses in Puerto Rico still lack power after Hurricane Maria leveled an electricity grid that was ill-maintained before the storm.

Tropical Storm Chris has formed in the Atlantic, the third named storm of the 2018 hurricane season.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Beryl - the second named storm of this season - is expected to dump heavy rain over the Lesser Antilles at the end of the weekend.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Dominica and Guadaloupe.

In April, meteorologists from Colorado State University predicted an active hurricane season, with an estimated seven hurricanes projected to form. It was centred 495 miles (795 kilometres) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles and was moving west at 18 mph (30 kph).

Earlier, forecasters said was likely to fizzle before becoming a threat to land.

The hurricane center said Beryl's remnant had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kph) late Sunday and was moving west-northwestward at 26 miles per hour (43 kph). Some 60,000 people still have only tarps for roofs.

In explaining the changed forecast, they note that the tropical Atlantic is much colder than normal. The movement as of Sunday morning is stationary, but it is expected to move east and into the open Atlantic over the next few days.

It is now 240 miles east of Barbados and 340 miles east of Martinique.

  • Joey Payne