'Surprising' Beryl Ramps Up to Tropical Storm Level

New predictions for hurricanes, storms in the Caribbean this season

National Hurricane Center monitoring two tropical disturbances

Satellite imagery indicates convection has persisted with enough tenacity and enough evidence of surface low pressure existence that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) indicated the formation of Tropical Storm Beryl Thursday afternoon.

Tropical Depression Two, which could become Tropical Storm Beryl, was located about 1,385 east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles and is moving west at 35 miles per hour.

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 miles per hour (55 kph) with higher gusts.

"Upper-level winds will become hostile well before the system approaches the Lesser Antilles this weekend", according to Weather Channel meteorologist Jonathan Erdman.

"Places like the Lesser Antilles watch out because you could feel the effect of this by the weekend".

"The estimated minimum central pressure is 1004 mb (29.65 inches)". "Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next few days, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm by Sunday". It is projected to cross the islands late Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane and then weaken as it enters the Caribbean Sea. "By Tuesday, a faster northeastward motion is expected to begin", forecasters said. The National Hurricane Center gives the system a 70% chance of development (short-term) as of Thursday morning.

But the NHC predicts the storm will not strengthen because of strong wind shear.

The center determined the intensity of the storm to be 45 knots, but added "there is a lot of uncertainty in this estimate".

Even so, it has given the system a medium chance of developing further.

The Wilmington National Weather Service office is eying the future Chris due to a series of heavy storms expected across the region starting today (Friday).

The first tropical storm of the season, Alberto, formed on May 25 on the edge of the Yucatan Peninsula on the western end of the Caribbean. This forecast is very close to what we consider an average season - 12 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

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