Update Saturday at 10:15 a.m.
Beryl has weakened to a tropical storm, conforming with an earlier forecast by the U.S. National Hurricane Center that the system would weaken before hitting the southern Caribbean.
While the storm poses no immediate threat to the Cayman Islands, the National Weather Service encourages residents to monitor weather reports.
A hurricane warning has been discontinued for Dominica. The island is now under a tropical storm warning.
Tropical storm watches are in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius.
Given the small size of the storm, the National Hurricane Center expressed uncertainty in its forecasting.
Its most recent forecast map shows the storm moving over the Lesser Antilles late Sunday before moving northwest toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Update at 5:15 p.m.
A hurricane watch has been issued for Dominica by the Barbados government. A Tropical Storm watch is in effect Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.
Beryl is expected to hit the Lesser Antilles with hurricane force Sunday night or Monday.
Update at 11:30 a.m.
Hurricane Beryl remains small in size but continues to strengthen, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. Beryl is now expected to maintain hurricane strength once it reaches the Lesser Antilles islands in the southeastern Caribbean late Sunday or Monday.
As Beryl moves toward Puerto Rico and Haiti, however, it is expected to diminish to a tropical storm.
Despite the anticipated weakening of the storm, Hazard Management Cayman Islands has advised residents to monitor weather reports.
The system is moving west at 15 miles per hour and is expected to accelerate movement west to northwest over the weekend.
Maximum sustained winds are reaching 80 miles per hour with larger gusts.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
Original story at 9 a.m. Friday
The Atlantic has its first hurricane of the season. Hurricane Beryl, currently southeast of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean, is considered a small storm, creating some uncertainty about the analysis, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Rapid changes in intensity – both up and down – are possible in coming days.
As of Friday morning, the hurricane was moving west at 14 miles per hour. A faster west-northwestward motion is expected through the weekend.
The current forecast path has the storm remaining east of the Lesser Antilles until early Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds have reached 75 miles per hour with higher gusts. Since Beryl is a compact storm, hurricane-force winds are extending only up to 10 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm force winds are extending 35 miles from the center.
While some strengthening is predicted today, the NHC expects Beryl to quickly weaken by late Saturday and to become a tropical storm or strong open trough late Sunday or Monday.
While the storm is expected to dissipate as it nears the southern Caribbean islands, rain and winds are expects. Residents of the Lesser Antilles should closely monitor the storm.