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However, "due to its very small size, there is greater-than-usual uncertainty in the analysis of Beryl's current intensity" and "rapid changes in intensity, both up and down, that are hard to predict are possible during the next couple days", the National Hurricane Center warns.

Beryl could strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane this weekend with winds of up to 100 miles per hour before entering the eastern Caribbean on Sunday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Maximum sustained winds are near 75 miles per hour (120 km/h) with higher gusts.

The hurricane center warns that "swells generated by the depression are expected to increase and affect portions of the coasts of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic states this weekend". It was expected to pass about 70 miles south of Puerto Rico on Monday, but forecasters warned the storm-wracked USA territory could see up to 30 mph winds and heavy rains that could cause flooding and mudslides. The storm's pace should slow and remain off the North Carolina coast through Monday.

There is now the chance Beryl may survive in some form into the central Caribbean Sea early next week, though it is expected to have been weakened to some degree, possibly completely ripped apart, from wind shear by that time.

Small storms can morph quickly - Beryl flared up from a depression Thursday morning to a hurricane in less than 24 hours. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the centre. National Hurricane Center weather outlook. A faster west-northwestward motion is expected through the weekend.

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Forecasters said Beryl probably would dissipate once it moved south of Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Tuesday or Wednesday. It formed in May, just before the June 1 start of hurricane season.

As Beryl continues to show signs of strengthening, the BVI should begin feeling the effects of the hurricane by late Sunday.

Because the storm is so small, forecasters say they've been less certain about their projections.

Berg said forecasters aren't expecting it to move inland, "but it could get close enough to the coast to cause some impacts like wind and heavy rain".

But the compact storm, the first hurricane of the season, is still on a path that would take it over the Lesser Antillles and into the eastern Caribbean by Sunday night or early Monday.


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