Tropical Depression forms to the west

New predictions for hurricanes, storms in the Caribbean this season

National Hurricane Center monitoring two tropical disturbances

Read on for details on the Atlantic's tropical system, Beryl, and also local forecast details.

The average Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, three of them major.

Intermittent rainstorms already were hitting Dominica early Sunday, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 centimeters) of rain could fall as the storm moves through or near the island on Sunday night. There is a 30 percent chance the storm could develop into a tropical system over the next two days as it tracks northwest between Bermuda and the East Coast. Storm force winds extend just 35 miles from Beryl's center.

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The newly formed tropical storm is now over 1,200 miles east-southeast of the Windward Islands, moving west.

"Strong wind shear, dry air, and dust are likely to cause the feature to weaken and may result in a total demise of Beryl", added AccuWeather's Paul Walker.

The NHC's forecast discussion advises, however, that Beryl's small size means "there is greater uncertainty than usual regarding Beryl's intensity forecast". It is forecast to weaken to a tropical storm as it moves into the Caribbean. It was predicted to pass south of Puerto Rico on Monday as a tropical depression, but forecasters warned that the storm-wracked US territory could see up to 30 miles per hour winds and heavy rains that could cause flooding and mudslides.

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Beryl is expected to remain on its current path, crossing the Lesser Antilles Sunday and moving near or south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Monday, according to the NHC. Forecasters believe that additional strengthening is in store for Chris, and the storm is expected to become a hurricane by mid-week. The depression is moving toward the west near 16 miles per hour (26 kph).

"Beryl has been a bit of a surprise today, which is not uncommon for tiny tropical cyclones such as itself", the NHC 5 p.m. Thursday advisory said, noting, "It's usually hard to get a good handle on the intensity of these types of cyclones".

It has been a quiet season so far, with no storm activity since Subtropical Storm Alberto formed in May, ahead of the June 1 start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

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