July 7 (Reuters) - Hurricane Beryl weakened to a tropical storm on Saturday as it approached eastern Caribbean Sea islands, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory.
Beryl was located about 720 miles (1,160 km) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 mph on Saturday morning.
The center of Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday, the Miami-based weather forecaster said.
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"Additional weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, especially once Beryl reaches the eastern Caribbean Sea on Monday," the NHC said. "The system could degenerate into an open trough by the time it reaches the central Caribbean Sea and Hispaniola on Tuesday."
Tropical storm watches were in effect for Caribbean islands including Barbados, St. Lucia and Dominica.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Daniel Wallis in New York; Editing by Alison Williams and Chizu Nomiyama)