Subtropical storm Beryl may reach land by Memorial Day

Subtropical storm Beryl is about to rain on the Southeast’s Memorial Day parade.

A tropical storm warning was in effect along the coasts of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina on Saturday, the National Weather Service announced, as the second named storm of 2012 approached. The service said the storm had only minimal strength, meaning it would likely not follow the usual “rules” for tropical storms and could behave somewhat erratically.

“There is still great uncertainly as to just what the wind strength and structure will be like at landfall,” the service said on its website. “In all likelihood, the strongest winds will be confined to the coastal areas and could occur anywhere in the warning area.”


Added Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center in Miami: “It’s still a subtropical storm, meaning not all of its energy is coming from warm sources, but it makes no difference in reference to strength.”

Approximately 300 miles northeast of Jacksonville, Fla., as of Saturday morning, Beryl was slowly touring the area at 9 mph and was expected to move southwest until Sunday morning, Feltgen said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Surf conditions were extremely dangerous due to the unusually high tides along the coasts of northern Florida, Georgia and up to Edisto Beach in South Carolina over the Memorial Day weekend.

Beryl was expected to reach land by Sunday night or early Monday morning, bringing a storm surge and 3 to 6 inches of rain. Winds of 50 mph were expected at landfall.

The news was a mixed bag for some communities in the area.

“The good news is that [the storm] will fall across an area that really needs rain,” Feltgen said.

The bad news?

Extremely dry land can’t quickly absorb that much water.

“If you get that much water that fast, I don’t care how good your drain pipes are, there will be a big possibility of flooding,” Feltgen said.

The hurricane season, which officially starts June 1 and lasts six months, is off to an early start this year; Beryl follows Tropical Storm Alberto.

Earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced its predictions for the upcoming hurricane season, saying that nine to 15 named storms were likely. It said a “near-normal” season was expected.


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