Tropical depression forms off NC coast and may become Tropical Storm Chris

Tropical Depression Beryl is seen in this NASA handout satellite image dated

Tropical Depression Beryl is seen in this NASA handout satellite image dated

The hurricane gained strength Friday morning and was a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of almost 80 miles per hour (130 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center.

Due to the small size of the hurricane, short-term changes in intensity, up or down, could occur over the next day or two, but Beryl is forecast to remain near hurricane strength as it nears the Lesser Antilles.

As of noon on Friday, Beryl was packing maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

A tropical depression strengthened into Hurricane Beryl on Friday after gaining strength overnight, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Maximum sustained winds are near 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) with higher gusts.

Its tropical storm-force winds extend only up to about 35 miles from its center.

The National Hurricane Center plans updated forecasts every six hours until Beryl dissipates, likely on Tuesday. Alberto formed in May, just before the hurricane season kicked off June 1. It made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a subtropical storm and ushered drenching rains across states in the South and Midwest.

Forecasters said Beryl would weaken further after entering the Caribbean late Sunday or early Monday.

Beryl's impact on Haiti isn't clear as of Saturday morning.

"A faster westward to west-northwestward motion is expected to begin over the weekend and continue through early next week", the NHC said.

"Although the system is forecast to interact with a frontal zone next week, it could linger off the southeast coast and some additional development is possible", Bridges said. Beryl can bring squally showers and thunderstorms to the Lesser Antilles on Sunday and Sunday night into Monday with the potential for 1-2 inches of rainfall with locally up to 3 inches possible. "The hurricane center cautioned those along the coast in North and SC to continue to monitor the system, which has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression over the next few days", Alabama.com reported on July 6.

Beryl is indeed the First Hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The first hurricane of 2018 has been whipped up in the Atlantic generating 75mph (120km/h) winds.