Tropical Storm Beryl makes landfall

…Beryl makes landfall along the coast of Florida near Jacksonville Beach…

Data from the National Weather Service Doppler radar in Jacksonville indicate that the center of Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall near Jacksonville Beach around 1210am EDT (0410 UTC)
Summary of 1215am EDR (0410 UTC) information:
Location: 30.3N, 81.4W
About 20mi (30km) East of Jacksonville, Florida
About 60 mi (100km) South of Brunswick, Georgia
Maximum Sustained winds: 70mph (110km/h)
Present Movement: West (275 Degrees) at 7mph (11km/h)
Minimum Central Pressure: 993mb (29.32inches)

To put this storm into context, Tropical Storm Beryl was the first Tropical/Sub-tropical Cyclone to make a US landfall in May since 1972 when Sub-tropical Storm Alpha (They used to use the Greek alphabet to name Sub-tropical Storms) made a Florida landfall with 60mph winds on May 28th. It is the strongest May landfall in the US since 1908 when a category one hurricane hit the Outer Banks, NC with 75mph winds, but only tropical storm force winds were observed. Overall this event is nearly unprecedented in the Hurricane record books which extend back to 1851.

After transitioning from a Sub-tropical Storm to a strong Tropical Storm, Beryl has moved inland and weakened to a Tropical Depression. Widespread heavy rains, over 5″, have fallen along Beryl’s track in North Florida and South Georgia. Storm surges ranged 1-4 feet (3.7 feet at Fernandina Beach, FL) from Jacksonville, FL to Charleston, SC and are now subsiding. Intense wind gusts nearing hurricane force (73mph on Buck Island, St. John’s river, FL) were recorded in metro-Jacksonville, and tropical storm conditions were observed at many locations in Florida and Georgia; not just along the immediate coastline, but extending respectably far inland.

Most of the damage reports so far consist of trees and power lines damaged or downed and some localized flooding from the heavy rain. This is likely to remain the theme for the remainder of the storm’s path inland.

Tropical Depression Beryl sitting over Valdosta, GA dumping heavy rain in Florida and Georgia. NCAR RAP Radar Archive May 28 2012 2300UTC.

The latest advisory:
…Beryl a rainmaker…

Summary of 5:00pm EDT (2100 UTC) Information:
Location: 30.8N, 83.1W
About 10mi (20km) East of Valdosta, Georgia
About 150mi (240km) Southwest of Savannah, Georgia
Maximum Sustained Winds: 30mph (45km/h)
Present Movement: North-Northwest (335 Degrees) at 5mph (7km/h)
Minimum Central Pressure: 1003mb (29.62inches)

Now located in southern Georgia, Beryl is tapping into both Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico moisture to continue to produce very heavy rains. High wind is not as much of a danger factor now that Beryl has weakened, but winds are strong enough for High Wind Warnings around the cyclone for gusts up to tropical storm force (>39mph). Beryl’s forward speed has slowed significantly making flooding a much more significant danger despite the local drought conditions. Total rainfall accumulations could reach a foot in some places – this forecast has prompted the National Weather Service to issue extensive Flood and Flash Flood Watches and Warnings for north-central Florida and southern Georgia. As with all tropical cyclones, there is a slight threat for tornadoes in any spiral bands which extend down past Tampa, FL along the peninsula – two tornadoes have already been reported.

Beryl is expected to be picked up by a trough moving out of the US mid-west. Beryl should emerge over the Gulf Stream off the South Carolina coast by Wednesday afternoon. The expected moisture, divergent upper level winds, and nearby warm waters may give Beryl a chance for some re-strengthening back to Tropical Storm strength once the center exits the coast.

* Radar image from NCAR RAP Radar Archive May 28th 400UTC, and the satellite image from NOAA GOES East RGB Floater Satellite imagery May 28th 415 UTC.


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