First Atlantic hurricane puts Dominica on alert

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 07 2018 11:05 AM

MIAMI, United States - The Caribbean island of Dominica, ravaged by the deadly passage of Hurricane Maria last year, was again under a hurricane watch Friday as the first such storm of the 2018 Atlantic season moved toward the Lesser Antilles.

Dominica, a former British colony where Maria left more than 30 people dead last September, was the only area where hurricane conditions were possible so far as Hurricane Beryl moved west, said the United States National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The center added that the French tourist islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and St Barthelemy, as well as French-Dutch St Martin, were under tropical storm watch, meaning that tropical storm conditions were possible.

The islands suffered billions of dollars' worth of damage and some fatalities when hurricanes Irma and Maria struck last year.

At 0000 GMT on Saturday (8:00 am, Manila time), Beryl, a Category 1 hurricane, packed winds of 130 kilometers per hour and was pushing westward at 24 kms per hour, about 1489 kms east-southeast of the Caribbean's Lesser Antilles island chain, the NHC said.

"Some strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Beryl could still be a hurricane when it reaches the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or Monday," the agency said.