Beryl builds into a hurricane in the Atlantic, NHC says

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By Mrinmay Dey

(Reuters) -The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Saturday that tropical storm Beryl has intensified into a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, and cautioned that it may undergo rapid strengthening as it approaches the Caribbean island of Barbados.

Hurricane Beryl, which may become “major”, is expected to bring destructive winds and a life-threatening storm surge to the Windward islands, the forecaster said in an advisory.

The center of the hurricane is expected to move across the Windward islands late Sunday night and Monday.

Beryl formed over the central tropical Atlantic on Friday, and was located about 720 miles (1,159 km) east-southeast of Barbados, carrying maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, NHC said.

NHC issued a hurricane warning for Barbados, adding that hurricane conditions are expected beginning Sunday night. It also warned of a potential hurricane threat for much of the Windward islands, and, tropical storms may occur in Martinique, Dominica, and Tobago.

“A life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 5 to 7 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore flow near where Beryl makes landfall in the hurricane warning and watch areas,” the forecaster said.

“Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves,” NHC added.

Beryl is moving west at 22 mph, NHC said, and forecasts that it would produce total rainfall of three to six inches (7.5 to 15 cm) across Barbados and the Windward islands on Sunday night and may continue into Monday.

It also may bring 1 to 4 inches of rain over portions of southeastern Puerto Rico, which is expected to happen on Monday night into Tuesday.

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