With the approach of a new hurricane season, a rainbow appears as the storm clouds part at sunset in Aventura, Florida.File picture: Brynn Anderson/AP

Washington - The first hurricane of the season, named Beryl, is heading towards islands in the Caribbean, with winds up to 130 kilometres an hour, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

The winds are expected to strengthen further in the next days, and Beryl is expected to still be a hurricane when it reaches the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or Monday, the service said. Weakening is expected thereafter. The hurricane is described as "compact."

The hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean typically runs from June through November and is when most such storms would occur.

A close eye is being kept on Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria last year. Governor Ricardo Rossello called on residents "to prepare themselves and to keep calm" as authorities set up shelters.

Electricity on the US territory is particularly weak after last year's hurricane, and there is concern about further damage.

Elsewhere, the main worries are about flooding from heavy rains.