Tropical Storm Beryl forms in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Beryl forms in Atlantic

The storm that had been the Atlantic season's first hurricane has been losing power, but residents on islands hit hard by storms past year stocked up on food and water Saturday and prepared for possible damaging winds, rains and waves.

In a statement on Saturday night, Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said even though the storm has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, citizens must not get complacent.

The storm is forecast to strengthen in coming days and could become a tropical storm Saturday night or Sunday, the hurricane center said Saturday morning.

But upper level wind shear is expected to increase significantly late Saturday or early Sunday, causing the very small tropical cyclone to quickly weaken.

Currently, the center of the system was located by an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft near latitude 32.3 North, longitude 74.3 West with 70 miles per hour winds.

Impacts could include life-threatening surf and rip current conditions affecting portions of the coast from North Carolina through the mid-Atlantic into early next week. On the forecast track, the centre of Beryl will remain east of the Lesser Antilles through Sunday. Tropical storm watches were in effect for Dominica and Guadeloupe.

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Though the storm is far from the strength of major Hurricanes Maria and Irma past year, Beryl still poses a threat of wind and rain to areas that have not fully recovered from those destructive storms.

"People have to remain alert", Gabriel Lojero, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in San Juan, told The Associated Press.

As of 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), the storm was about 215 miles (350 km) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Deeper into the Caribbean, a state of emergency was declared in Puerto Rico, where Maria caused estimated at more than $100 billion.

Following Tropical Storm Alberto, which developed during Memorial Day weekend, there were no tropical storms over the Atlantic basin during June for the first time since 2014, AccuWeather reported.

The governor urged people without sturdy roofs to stay in one of the 424 shelters that the government planned to open across the island.

At 11 p.m. Thursday, the system had sustained winds of about 65 miles per hour, according to the center's forecast.