Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beryl a bother from Charleston southward

Tropical Storm Beryl -- in one way, a once-in-a-century storm -- continued to move slowly toward the Southeast Coast on Saturday morning toward an expected landfall late Sunday near Jacksonville.

Beryl is actually a subtropical storm, because of its structure, but the differences to the general public are negligible. For all intents and purposes, it is a tropical system.

And it marks the first time in at least a century that two named tropical systems have developed before June 1, which is the traditional start of the hurricane season in the Atlantic and Caribbean basins. Tropical Storm Alberto formed last weekend, in almost the same spot as Beryl.

Beryl isn't a strong storm,  with top sustained winds Saturday morning of 45 mph. It's expected to peak at 50 mph shortly before reaching the coast late Sunday. But it will make a mess of beachgoers' Memorial Day weekend celebrations, with showers, gusty winds and rough surf along parts of the Carolinas coast.

A tropical storm warning is posted from south of Charleston down to near Daytona Beach, Fla. A tropical storm watch is in effect from near Charleston up to near Georgetown, S.C.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Wilmington say they expect frequent showers Saturday and Sunday along the coast, with winds gusting to 25 mph from the northeast. The cut-off line between Beryl's bad weather will be quite sharp -- generally speaking, along Interstate 95. Areas east of I-95 will see mostly cloudy skies this weekend, with a good chance of rain. West of I-95, there'll be mostly sunny skies and just a few showers.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Wilmington also are predicting a high risk of rip currents Saturday and Sunday, especially south of Murrells Inlet and north of Cape Fear. Lifeguards along the coast will have their work cut out for them this weekend. And it won't be a good weekend to head out in a boat, with waves of 3 to 7 feet predicted into Monday.

The National Hurricane Center says that once Beryl moves inland, near the Florida-Georgia border, it is expected to stall for much of Sunday and all of Monday, before an approaching cold front grabs the weakened system and carries it out to sea. By Monday, hurricane forecasters say, Beryl will only be a tropical depression.


Anonymous said...

Steve, Beryl is a SUBtropical storm.