Storm Strengthening To Hurricane Off Carolinas As Puerto Rico Faces Storm Beryl

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Weather forecasters say Tropical Storm Chris is likely to strengthen to a hurricane by Monday but will remain well away from the USA coast for the next two or three days. Beryl is moving toward the west-northwest near 23 mph, and tropical-storm-force winds extend out 45 miles from the storm's center.

Tropical Storm Beryl has picked up speed in movement, but not winds, according to Sunday's 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm was sitting almost still off the SC coast on Sunday, about 160 miles south of Cape Hatteras.

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Maximum sustained winds are near 45 miles per hour (75 km/h) with higher gusts.

High surf and risky rip currents are expected along parts of the Carolina and mid-Atlantic coasts through early week.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday that the storm was likely to strengthen.

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"Swells generated by Chris are expected to increase and affect portions of the coasts of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic states into early next week", the advisory said, adding that some of the resulting conditions could be life-threatening. Beryl has weakened significantly, meteorologists said, and tropical storm watches have been lifted for Martinique, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Saba, St. Maarten and St. Eustatius. Gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Beryl is forecast to degenerate into a trough of low pressure as it moves across the eastern Caribbean Sea on Monday.

Any of these passing showers or storms will be capable of producing periods of heavy downpours, rumbles of thunder and lightning and gusty winds up to 30-40 miles per hour.

The storm is, however, forecast to maintain this strength as it heads west over the next day, prompting tropical storm warnings for Dominica and Guadeloupe, where gusty winds and one to three inches of rain are possible.

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