Everything we know about Hurricane Beryl, the first Atlantic hurricane of the year

Hurricane Beryl became the first hurricane of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season Friday morning after gaining strength overnight.

The path of the relatively tiny Hurricane Beryl is currently tracking westwards through the Atlantic in the general direction of Puerto Rico.

The National Hurricane Center said Friday that Beryl “is still forecast to weaken or dissipate as a tropical cyclone before reaching the Lesser Antilles,” and that wind and rain could be expected on those islands in the coming days.

However, the NHC is warning that changes to Beryl’s intensity will be “difficult to predict” due to its small size.

“Confidence in the official intensity forecast is also much lower than normal,” the Center warned. “Rapid changes in intensity, both up and down, that are difficult to predict are possible during the next couple days.”

The first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, subtropical storm Alberto, failed to reach hurricane status. But it still led to several fatalities and approximately $50 million in damage.

Many Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico, were devastated by intense storms during last year’s hurricane season, which officially lasts from June 1 until November 30.

Some experts have raised concerns that climate change might be generating stronger hurricanes, while climate scientists have warned the 2018 hurricane season could be worse than usual.