Beryl becomes first hurricane of Atlantic season

Hurricane wind scale
Description of the 5 categories in the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale

A hurricane has formed east of the Lesser Antilles, the first of the 2018 Atlantic season, according the US National Hurricane Center.

The latest NHC bulletin at 1500 GMT Friday said Beryl was a "compact" Category One , packing winds of 80 miles per hour (130 kilometers per hour) as it pushed westward at 15 mph, currently about a thousand miles east of the Caribbean's Lesser Antilles island chain.

There are currently no warnings or watches in effect, but the NHC said watches could be needed for some islands by tonight.

Beryl is forecast to strengthen over the next couple of days before weakening when it reaches the eastern Caribbean Sea on Monday.

Florida and the Caribbean were pummeled last year by monster hurricanes.

Last month, a new study concluded that in Puerto Rico, 4,645 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria. The official toll in the US territory is 64 dead.

© 2018 AFP

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