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Beryl headed out to sea

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:53 PM GMT on May 30, 2012

The center of Tropical Depression Beryl is close to the ocean again, and the storm has strengthened slightly in response. Beryl's heavy rain show will be focused on Eastern North Carolina today, where widespread rain amounts of 2 - 4 inches can be expected. Beryl's heaviest rains fell over Lafayette County, Florida, on Monday and Tuesday, where 12.65" was measured as of 6:30 am EDT Tuesday near Midway. Beryl spawned a single tornado on both Monday and Tuesday; these twisters did only minor damage. There is a slight chance the storm could produce another weak tornado today over North Carolina. The storm is being blamed for one death--a swimmer that drowned in rough surf in Daytona Beach, Florida. Another swimmer is missing from Folly Beach, South Carolina. All things considered, Beryl was just the sort of tropical storm the Southeast U.S. needed--strong enough to bring the heavy rains needed to alleviate the severe to exceptional drought conditions over the region, but not so strong as to cause major damage and loss of life. The main bummer was that Beryl hit during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, costing the tourism industry tens of millions of dollars in lost business. With Beryl caught in a trough of low pressure and accelerating to the northeast, the storm should transition to an extratropical storm later today.

Figure 1. True-color MODIS satellite image of Beryl taken at 2:25 pm EDT May 29, 2012 by NASA's Aqua satellite. At the time, Beryl was a tropical depression with winds of 30 mph.

Figure 2. Estimated rainfall from Beryl over the past seven days from NOAA/AHPS.

Jeff Masters


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