Connect to share and comment

Beryl makes landfall in Florida, downgraded to 'tropical depression' from tropical storm (UPDATE)

Beryl, the second named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, hit the southeastern coast of the United States in time for Memorial Day.

Hurricane budEnlarge
A satellite image taken by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association shows hurricane Bud about 110 miles off the coast of Mexico on May 25, 2012. (Handout/Getty Images)

Beryl, the second named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, swept ashore with 70 mph winds around midnight Sunday in Jacksonville, Florida, the Associated Press reported

The storm's sustained winds have since died down to about 35 mph, causing weather forcasters to downgrade the storm to a tropical depression and cancel all warnings and watches less than 11 hours after it hit the coast, CBS News reported

"The state needs to be ready to be able to help local communities like this and we were," said Florida Gov. Rick Scott after he toured Jacksonville on Monday, First Coast News reported. "I talked to the mayor quite a bit to make sure I knew what was going on. He knew we were there if he needed us. So, fortunately we didn't have a hurricane this time — just a tropical storm. But we live in a peninsula and we all have to be prepared."

A tropical storm will often go "tropical depression" stage first, which has winds less than 35 knots, and a closed cyclonic circulation, according to Weather Questions

Gov. Scott had urged Florida residents in the affected areas to "stay alert and aware" earlier on, the AP wrote.

However, though the stom did relatively little damage, it did ruin Memorial Day plans, the AP reported. 

"It definitely changed our vacation to unfortunate circumstances that we're not happy with. But you just have to live with it," said Joyce Connolly, who took her daughters on a vacation to Jacksonville for the holiday weekend only to find themselves in the middle of the storm.  

However, the rain relieved some of  relief from the persistent drought Georgia has been experiencing, according to CBS News. According to the state climatologist's office, rainfall in Savannah was 15 inches below normal for the past 12 months as of May 1. 

More from GlobalPost: 'Subtropical' storm Beryl to douse South's Memorial Day

The storm was initially upgraded from a subtropical storm to a tropical storm on Sunday, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek:

A storm becomes tropical when thunderstorm activity begins building close to the center of circulation, according to Weather Underground Inc. of Ann Arbor, Michigan. A subtropical storm usually has a large cloud-free center of circulation, Weather Underground said.

The storm is expected to dump up to 3 to 6 inches of rain and possibly cause rip currents and coastal flooding, Reuters reported. Beryl should weaken to a depression on Monday, forecasters said.

Gusts to hurricane force winds are due to reach the northeastern Florida coast and southeastern Georgia this afternoon and continue through tonight, the US National Hurricane Center said, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Alden Alias, the front desk manager at The King and Prince Hotel on St. Simons Island, Ga., said Beryl’s approach had already convinced some visitors to leave early, Reuters reported. "The waves are pretty big," she said. "The winds are starting to pick up."

More from GlobalPost: Turkey’s woman at the top

A frontal system coming south from the Great Lakes should send a weaker Beryl into the Atlantic Ocean later in the week, according to the AP.

As of Monday morning, Georgia Power reported about 2,900 people were without power, and Jacksonville city officials say 20,000 were without power. The Florida city also cancelled its bus service was canceled due to the flooded roads, downed power lines and trees, the AP reported. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120527/beryl-upgraded-tropical-storm