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article imageFirst Atlantic hurricane puts Dominica on alert

By AFP     Jul 6, 2018 in Environment

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, Beryl, a Category One hurricane, packed winds of 80 miles per hour (130 kilometers per hour) and was pushing westward at 15 miles per hour, about 925 miles 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.

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