FIRST ALERT: Depression off NC coast expected to become tropical storm; Beryl weakens


A tropical depression off the North Carolina coast is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm by Sunday, but is expected to move north and away from the Carolinas.

At 11 a.m., the center of Tropical Depression Three was located near latitude 33.1 North, longitude 74.8 West, about 150 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras.

The depression is moving toward the north near 2 mph, and little motion is anticipated during the next two days.

The depression is forecast to begin moving toward the northeast by Tuesday.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 30 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next several days, and the depression could become a tropical storm later Saturday night or on Sunday.

An Air Force reconnaissance plane was currently approaching the depression as of 11 a.m. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1015 mb (29.98 inches).

Beryl downgraded to tropical storm

Meanwhile, Beryl has weakened from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm as of 11 a.m. Saturday. That change of status was expected to happen.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Dominica. The government of France has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy.

At 11 a.m., the center of Tropical Storm Beryl was located near latitude 12.1 North, longitude 51.1 West. Beryl is moving toward the west-northwest near 14 mph.

A west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected during the next few days.

On the forecast track, the center of Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend, cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday, and move south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Monday and Monday night.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65 mph with higher gusts. Additional weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, especially once Beryl reaches the eastern Caribbean Sea on Monday. The system could degenerate into an open trough by the time it reaches the central Caribbean Sea and Hispaniola on Tuesday. Beryl is a small tropical storm. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 999 mb (29.50 inches).

Live 5 Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh said Beryl is not going to affect the weekend, and looks like, at this point, not a factor for the Lowcountry’s future.

“It looks like it’s going to eventually run into some trouble when it approaches the Windward Islands where some wind shear will weaken the storm,” Walsh said.

CLICK HERE to download the free Live 5 News and First Alert Weather apps.

CLICK HERE for information on building your Hurricane Disaster Kit.

CLICK HERE for instructions on how to create a severe weather plan for your family.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area.

Beryl’s upgrade to a Category 1 storm made it the first hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season.

Storms named Beryl have made landfall in the United States three different times over the years, in 1988, 1994 and 2012.

“The tropics have become increasingly active as we’ve flipped the calendar over to July,” Meteorologist Joey Sovine said.

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. The system made landfall in the Gulf but its remnants created downpours over the Memorial Day weekend.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.