Hurricane Beryl strengthens slightly in Atlantic, forecasters say

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Hurricane Beryl strengthens slightly in Atlantic, forecasters say

The first hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season has formed.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Puerto Rico could be hit with winds of up to 40 miles per hour (64 kph) and heavy flooding as Hurricane Beryl approaches a region still trying to recover from last year's storms, forecasters said Friday.

By midday Friday, Beryl was churning about 1,000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean; it's expected to reach land by late Sunday or early Monday.

By the morning July 6, Tropical Storm Beryl had racked up enough speed and strength to transform from a tropical depression into a full-fledged hurricane.

Beryl will continue to track westward through an environment of warm water and low wind shear which is favorable for additional strengthening. Temperatures will be in the 90's. But as of early Friday afternoon, the storm system was lingering several hundred miles southeast of the North Carolina coast, posing no threat to the Garden State.

Beryl is forecast to remain a hurricane as it passes south of Puerto Rico and not dissipate until it is located south of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. If it does become a named storm, the next name on the list is Chris.

Beryl's size was still small and there was much uncertainty in predicting the hurricane's intensity because of its size, the agency said.

As of Friday morning, Beryl has winds of up to 75 miles per hour and is continuing to move west.

The hurricane might not weaken substantially until it gets near Hispaniola and the central Caribbean Sea, the hurricane center said in its latest storm advisory.

"Residents and visitors are encouraged to expedite preparations as we are moving further into 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season".

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