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Caribbean islands issue watches for Hurricane Beryl

A number of Caribbean islands issued tropical storm and hurricane watches Friday afternoon ahead of Category 1 Hurricane Beryl, which the National Hurricane Center described as a "miniature" and unpredictable.

The center of the storm was located 925 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles and was moving west near 15 mph, the NHC said in its 8 p.m. EDT update. The storm had sustained winds of 80 mph, and hurricane-force winds extend 10 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds 35 miles from the center.

Dominica issued a hurricane watch, while a tropical storm watch was in effect for the islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

Forecasters said they expect the storm to pick up speed over the weekend and approach the Lesser Antilles before crossing the island chain as a hurricane late Sunday or early Monday. It was expected to decrease in intensity to a tropical storm by midday Monday.

"Due to its very small size, there is greater-than-usual uncertainty in the analysis of Beryl's current intensity, and confidence in the official intensity forecast is also lower than normal," the NHC said. "Rapid changes in intensity, both up and down, that are difficult to predict are possible during the next couple of days."

On the forecast track, the storm could move south of Puerto Rico and make landfall along the southern coast of the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

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