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Friday, Jul 11, 2014
Weather

Tropical Storm Beryl to bring rain, winds to Tampa Bay

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 03:49 PM


11:05 p.m.:
Beryl is close to making landfall in the southeastern U.S. as coastal areas are already starting to feel the impact of heavy rains and strong winds.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported late Saturday that Beryl was 35 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla., and 75 miles (121 kilometers) south-southeast of Brunswick, Ga. Forecasters said the storm is moving west at 7 mph (11 kph) and its center should cross the coast over the next few hours.

Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (113 kph) with higher gusts. Forecasters said the system should begin to weaken as it moves inland and becomes a tropical depression.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the entire Georgia coastline, as well as parts of Florida and South Carolina.

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9:05 p.m.:
Beryl is wrecking some Memorial Day weekend plans, causing shoreline campers to pack up and head inland and leading to the cancellation of some events as the storm approached the southeastern U.S.

Beryl is still well offshore, but officials in Georgia and Florida were bracing for drenching rains and driving winds.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday evening that Beryl was approaching hurricane strength and was expected to make landfall late Sunday or early Monday.

As of 8 p.m., Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (113 kph), just below hurricane-strength, which is 75 mph. It was not expected to strengthen much more, and should weaken after making landfall. The hurricane center said the Jacksonville pier was already reporting winds of 50 mph (80 kph). Beryl was moving westward at 10 mph (16 kph).

Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged Florida residents in the affected areas to "stay alert and aware."

"Tropical Storm Beryl is expected to bring heavy rain and winds, and it is vital to continue to monitor local news reports and listen to the advice of local emergency management officials," Scott said in a statement Sunday evening.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for the entire Georgia coastline, as well as parts of Florida and South Carolina.

Beryl is expected to bring 4 to 8 inches of rain to parts, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. Forecasters predict the storm surge and tide will cause some coastal flooding in northeastern Florida, Georgia and southern South Carolina.

***
7:45 p.m.:
Beryl is approaching hurricane strength as it moves closer to the southeastern U.S. coast, where it is expected to make landfall in hours.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported Sunday evening that Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, just below hurricane-strength, which is 75 mph. Forecasters said Beryl is not expected to strengthen much more before landfall late Sunday or early Monday, after which it should weaken steadily.

As of 8 p.m. EDT, the storm was about 75 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla. The hurricane center said the Jacksonville pier was already reporting winds of 50 mph. Beryl was moving westward at 10 mph.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for the entire Georgia coastline, as well as parts of Florida and South Carolina.

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4:50 p.m.: Beryl is expected to make landfall Sunday night and the weather system is already wrecking some Memorial Day weekend plans.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported late Sunday afternoon that tropical storm conditions were near the coasts of northeastern Florida and southeastern Georgia. Gusts to hurricane-force are possible late Sunday and early Monday.

Beryl is expected to bring 4 to 8 inches of rain, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. Forecasters predict the storm surge and tide will cause some flooding in northeastern Florida, Georgia and southern South Carolina.

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2:00 p.m.: Beryl has transitioned from a subtropical storm to a purely tropical storm, Storm Team 8 meteorologist Brooks Garner says.  This means instead of getting its energy from the clash of airmasses, Beryl is now getting its energy purely from the warm ocean below.

The storm has strengthened slightly. It now has winds of 65 mph. It is expected to make landfall tonight in NE Florida but not strengthen significantly.

***

1:25 p.m.: Today will feature quick-moving-hit-or-miss storms that will pack a punch when it comes to heavy rain in the Tampa Bay area, according to Storm Team 8 meteorologist Megan Hatton.

As Beryl makes landfall later tonight or early Monday morning, our rain chances will increase especially for areas north of the bay.  Rainfall chances remain elevated through Tuesday as a storm system changes Beryl’s course and moves the system back over the Atlantic waters, Hatton said.

8:00 a.m.: Subtropical storm Beryl began moving faster toward an expected landfall Sunday night on the Southeast U.S. coast, threatening Memorial Day beachgoers with forecast conditions of dangerous surf and drenching rains from northeast Florida up through a swath of the Carolinas.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for the entire Georgia coastline, as well as parts of Florida and South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said. Forecasters at the center in Miami said the system of powerful thunderstorms was expected to make landfall sometime Sunday night in the region.

Beryl was technically considered a "subtropical storm," but the system of menacing storms was expected to bring winds and rain to the area regardless of its official classification.

At 5 a.m. EDT Sunday, Beryl was centered about 175 miles (285 kilometers) southeast of Savannah. Forecasters said the system had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) and was moving toward the west-southwest at 10 mph (17 kph) — up from a forward speed of 7 mph (11 kph) reported hours earlier.

Tropical storm conditions — meaning maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph) — were expected to reach the coast late Sunday morning or afternoon and continue through the night. Three to six inches of rain were forecast for a wide area from northern Florida up the coast to the southeastern portion of North Carolina. Some coastal flooding also was in the forecast, as the rain could cause high tides.

Dangerous surf conditions, including rip currents, are possible from northeast Florida to North Carolina in the coming hours, forecasters added.

Meanwhile, little change in strength was expected before Beryl makes landfall and the storm system was then expected to weaken to a depression Monday once ashore, the center said.

The Southeast coast is popular with tourists who visit the beaches and wilderness areas and generally throng to many of its beach communities and resort towns each Memorial Day weekend.

"A three-day thunderstorm is what it's probably going to be," said Jay Wiggins, emergency management director for Glynn County, which is about 60 miles south of Savannah and includes Brunswick and St. Simons Island in Georgia. "Unfortunately, it's going to ruin a lot of Memorial Day plans."

Wiggins said he expects some flooded roadways and scattered power outages, perhaps some minor flooding in waterfront homes, but otherwise little damage. However, he urged beachgoers to beware of dangerous rip currents.

On Tybee Island, home to Georgia's largest public beach east of Savannah, employees at Amy Gaster's home and condo rental business were making sure arriving guests were aware of the approaching storm during the weekend. Gaster said her 180 rentals were sold out and nobody was canceling plans or asking to check out early.

While Georgia hasn't taken a direct hit from a major hurricane in 114 years, the last time a tropical storm made landfall here was in August 1988. Tropical Storm Chris hit near Savannah but did little damage as it pushed northward into South Carolina.

In South Carolina, Beaufort County Emergency Management deputy director David Zeoli (zee-oli) said Saturday that word went out to first-responders along the coast near the Georgia line to pay attention to the storm's progress.

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