The hurricane center anticipates it will strengthen and become Tropical Storm Beryl later today or on Friday.
In a release issued at 8 p.m. Wednesday, the NHC said the system is about 1,000 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, roughly halfway between Africa and the Caribbean.
The depression is stationary and little motion is expected during the next two or three days. That said, it could increase the chance of rip currents in eastern North Carolina Friday-Saturday, the National Weather Service says.
Just hours after strengthening into a depression, Tropical Storm Beryl now has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph with higher gusts.
A tropical depression heading for the Caribbean has now become Tropical Storm Beryl.
"The estimated minimum central pressure is 1009 mb [29.80 inches]". A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.
The system is forecasted to degenerate into an open trough east of the Lesser Antilles over the weekend.
The NHC said, "Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 miles per hour [85 km/h] with higher gusts".
Hurricane-force winds from the hurricane extend only 10 miles from the center, with tropical storm force winds stretching only up to 35 miles. In fact, according to Colorado State University meteorologist and hurricane specialist Philip Klotzbach, less than 5% of all Atlantic hurricanes have formed in waters as cold as those underneath Beryl.
"It will definitely encounter upper-level winds before reaching the Lesser Antilles", Bridges said.
There's a second area being watched by the hurricane center on Thursday.
The NHC has recently been watching the storm for possible development. It made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a subtropical storm and ushered drenching rains across states in the South and Midwest. Originally, they had predicted 14 named storms, 6 hurricanes of which 2 would be major hurricanes.
Only 45 named tropical storms have formed in the first half of July from 1851-2017, for an average rate of one every 3.7 years.