Carolina Beach, N.C., Ocean Rescue leader Evan Anderson places a sign closing the beach to swimming Saturday because of strong rip currents.By Matt Born, The (Wilmington, N.C.) Star-News, via AP
Carolina Beach, N.C., Ocean Rescue leader Evan Anderson places a sign closing the beach to swimming Saturday because of strong rip currents.Tropical storm warnings were in effect for the entire Georgia coastline, as well as parts of Florida and South Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.As thousands of people headed toward the beach for the holiday weekend, the center issued tropical storm warnings for the southeastern U.S. from the Volusia/Brevard county line in Florida to Edisto Beach, S.C., and a tropical storm watch stretching north to the South Santee River in South Carolina. A tropical storm warning means that storm conditions could developing within the next day and a half.The large storm, with tropical-storm force winds stretching out for 115 miles, was expected to get stronger before it approaches land. The storm could also dump 3 to 6 inches of rain on the southeast coast.Beryl was technically still considered a "subtropical storm," but the system is expected to bring winds and rain to the area regardless of its official classification.The southeastern coast is popular with tourists who visit to enjoy the beaches and wilderness areas."A three-day thunderstorm is what it's probably going to be," said Jay Wiggins, emergency management director for Georgia's Glynn County, which is about 60 miles south of Savannah and includes Brunswick and St. Simons Island. "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 Cumberland Island, a federally protected wilderness area beloved by hikers and campers, superintendent Fred Boyles said he planned to wait until Sunday to decide if campers need to evacuate before the storm arrives. Boyles said he had about 100 campers planning to stay overnight Sunday, and the only way to leave Cumberland Island is by ferry.In South Carolina, Beaufort County Emergency Management deputy director David Zeoli said that at midday Saturday word went out to first-responders along the coast near the Georgia line to pay attention to the storm's progress. Officials haven't been ordered to work on an otherwise lovely day for the beach, but have been told to stay near a phone, Zeoli said.This is the second tropical storm to develop before the June 1 start of hurricane season.Contributing: Associated PressFor more information about reprints & permissions, visit our FAQ's. To report corrections and clarifications, contact Standards Editor Brent Jones. For publication consideration in the newspaper, send comments to email@example.com. Include name, phone number, city and state for verification. To view our corrections, go to corrections.usatoday.com.