Beryl Downgraded to Tropical Storm, Threat of Flooding Continues

The National Hurricane Center is reporting that Beryl is no longer forecast to be hurricane strength as it approaches land, and it has been downgraded to a tropical storm.  Yet the threat of flooding remains considerable and wind damage with related power outages are also possible given Puerto Rico’s fragile electric grid.

The Guajataca Dam, which collapsed after the impact of Hurricane María, is especially vulnerable to flooding.  After María, the US Corps of Engineers (USACE) installed a system of water pipes that regulate water levels while simultaneously allowing the distribution of water service to residents of the West Coast area, but the structure is not in ideal condition.

As of 11:00 am today, the National Hurricane Center cautioned that due to Beryl’s small size, there is a “greater-than-usual uncertainty in the analysis in Beryl’s current intensity.”  In addition, confidence in the official intensity forecast is lower than normal.  Rapid changes in intensity – in either direction – are possible in the coming days.

The storm is expected to hit the Lesser Antilles on Sunday evening or early Monday and reach Puerto Rico on Monday morning at approximately 8:00 am.

As of early Saturday afternoon, Beryl was moving west-northwestward at about 16 mph (26 km/h) and had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 km/h).

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