Tropical Storm Chris strengthens along Carolina coast


But Beryl, which had been the Atlantic season's first hurricane, disintegrated as a tropical storm shortly before reaching Dominica.

Beryl remained very small, moving west-northwest at 17 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, shy of Category 1 status, according to an advisory issued at 5 p.m. ET by the National Hurricane Center.

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. Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September, remains under a state of emergency.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Tropical Storm Beryl moved rapidly westward early Saturday, heading for the Lesser Antilles at the eastern entrance of the Caribbean Sea.

Tropical storm Chris, slowly moving along the coast of the Carolinas, is expected to build into a full-blown hurricane on Monday, while the former Hurricane Beryl dwindled into a heavy rainstorm as it crossed the northeastern Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center said.

Chris is now 195 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, NC, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

Earlier, forecasters said was likely to fizzle before becoming a threat to land.

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"People are very aware, and they want to be prepared", Colon said.

Meteorologist Marshall Alexander told The Associated Press that officials were anxious about those still living with tarps on their roofs after Maria slammed into Dominica as a Category 5 storm past year, killing dozens of people.

The government of Dominica said it would shut down its water system and Puerto Rico's governor warned of likely new power outages.

New tropical storm Tropical Storm Chris, which officially became a named storm at 5 a.m. Sunday, will linger off the North Carolina coastline, slowly gaining strength over the next two days. Some 60,000 people still have only tarps for roofs.

The leftover bits of Beryl looked set to bring two to three inches of rain to Puerto Rico, along with wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour.

"As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them".

Tropical Storm Chris is expected to become a hurricane on Tuesday and is forecast to accelerate northeastward on Wednesday and Thursday.