Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beryl gave Carolinas a good-bye kick

Beryl was officially "just" a tropical depression when it moved off the Carolinas coast Wednesday, but it caused quite a ruckus with its departure.

The storm had near-hurricane force winds when it made landfall last weekend near Jacksonville, but it lost much of its wind power as it meandered over inland Florida and Georgia for two days.

By late Tuesday, Beryl was on the move, pushing with increasing speed across eastern South Carolina and then sweeping over southeast North Carolina on its way to sea. Its top sustained winds were 35 mph, but Beryl was probably back to tropical storm force as it moved ashore.

The immediate Charlotte area escaped with little impact from the storm. A couple bands of heavy tropical showers moved over the region, and there were scattered reports of an inch or more of rain. But as Beryl moved northeast late Tuesday and early Wednesday, several bands of heavy rain and thunderstorms circulated around the center of the depression.

That rain drenches places like Florence and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, and Fayetteville and Wilmington in North Carolina. The closest heavy rain to Charlotte was in eastern Chesterfield County in South Carolina and Scotland County in North Carolina.

A look at the waves triggered by Beryl at Wrightsville Beach (Ryan Lyttle photo)
My son Ryan was in the area Thursday on a work assignment and said the rain was torrential. He said the radar echoes didn't look that strong, but it rained so hard that visibility was near zero much of the time.

The strongest wind gusts I saw measured officially were 56 mph, at 4:30 p.m. at Jennette's Pier in Dare County; 55 mph, at 6:48 p.m. at the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Hatteras Island; and 54 mph at 4:30 p.m. on Piney Island in Carteret County.

The feeder bands around Beryl triggered an EF1 tornado, with 110 mph winds, that damaged or destroyed about 70 homes in Carteret County.

Rainfall measurements included 4.6 inches near Whiteville, in eastern North Carolina; almost 4.3 inches in Nichols, S.C., east of Bennettsville, near the Carolinas border; and 4.14 inches in Dare County. About 3 inches fell in Myrtle Beach and 2 inches in Wilmington.


Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading some of your weather columns. But if I'm going to take the time to read about the weather, then I want to read about our weather, not what it was like down on the coast or down in South Carolina.

The main audience for the Charlotte Observer is Charlotte. So write about Charlotte.

Larry said...

Actually, that isn't correct. Charlotte Observer stories show up all over the place. Not only that but his is talking about a tropical system! It affects a lot of people in Charlotte. The main audience of the Charlotte Observer may live in Charlotte, but they DO care to read about the region. If you don't want to read about anything other than Charlotte, why don't you read the headlines and decide whether to read or not?