Beryl drops to trop­i­cal storm

For­mer hur­ri­cane ex­pected to hit Lesser An­tilles with heavy rain

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION | WORLD - By Dan­ica Coto

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Beryl weak­ened to a trop­i­cal storm Satur­day but was still ex­pected to dump heavy rain over the Lesser An­tilles at the end of the week­end on its way to the eastern Caribbean, bring­ing a new threat to is­lands still re­build­ing from last year’s storms.

A trop­i­cal storm warn­ing was is­sued for Guade­loupe and Do­minica, the lat­ter still re­cov­er­ing af­ter a bat­ter­ing by Hur­ri­cane Maria in Septem­ber as a Cat­e­gory 5 storm. Do­minica’s me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal ser­vice said weather con­di­tions would start de­te­ri­o­rat­ing Satur­day night and warned of at least four inches of rain, with the storm ex­pected to pass over or near Do­minica late Sun­day or early Mon­day.

Do­minica Prime Min­is­ter Roo­sevelt Sk­er­rit said in a pub­lic ad­dress that the storm’s track and in­ten­sity could still change and urged peo­ple to re­main alert. He also asked peo­ple to store wa­ter be­cause he said the govern­ment would be shut­ting down the wa­ter sys­tem as a pro­tec­tive mea­sure.

“They should not let their guard down,” he said.

A trop­i­cal storm watch was is­sued for the French Caribbean ter­ri­to­ries of Mar­tinique, St. Martin and St. Barts as well as St. Maarten and the is­lands of Bar­ba­dos, St. Lu­cia, Saba and St. Eus­tatius. Deeper into the Caribbean, a state of emer­gency was de­clared in Puerto Rico, where Maria caused dam­ages es­ti­mated at more than $100 bil­lion.

Beryl had be­come the first hur­ri­cane of the At­lantic sea­son Fri­day, but it weak­ened to a trop­i­cal storm Satur­day. Late in the af­ter­noon, the U.S. Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter said Beryl had max­i­mum sus­tained winds of 50 mph. It was cen­tered 605 miles east-south­east of the Lesser An­tilles and was mov­ing west at 17 mph.

Fore­cast­ers said Beryl was ex­pected to weaken fur­ther af­ter en­ter­ing the Caribbean. It was ex­pected to pass south of Puerto Rico on Mon­day, but fore­cast­ers warned the stormwracked U.S. ter­ri­tory could see up to 30 mph winds and heavy rains that could cause flood­ing and mud­slides.

Me­te­o­rol­o­gist Ernesto Mo­rales said two to four inches of rain was ex­pected across Puerto Rico, with higher amounts in iso­lated ar­eas.

Fore­cast­ers said Beryl prob­a­bly would dis­si­pate once it moved south of Haiti and the Do­mini­can Repub­lic on Tues­day or Wed­nes­day.

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