Subtropical Storm Beryl Forms Off Carolina Coast

May 26, 2012; 6:20 AM
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Subtropical Storm Beryl formed off the coast of the Carolinas late in the day on Friday.

A weak area of low pressure with a broad zone of drenching showers and thunderstorms stretching from the Southeast coast to the Bahamas became better organized and was designated Subtropical Storm Beryl.

A Subtropical Storm is a storm system that has both tropical and non-tropical characteristics.

Subtropical Storm Beryl currently has maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour. For the latest stats on Beryl, check out the Hurricane Center.

Downpours associated with Beryl will aim westward with time this weekend and will swing onshore over a drought-stricken area.

The latest indications are that while the strength of Beryl is likely to be limited by wind shear, the system will turn westward this weekend, potentially impacting areas of northeastern Florida, southeastern Georgia and the coastal Carolinas.

With folks heading to the beach, barbecuing and participating in memorial services and functions, the timing of the rain could be better. However, given the seriousness of the drought, this has the potential to be a drought buster for some locations.

According to Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "When even weak tropical systems move ashore, the energy built up is often released in the form of tremendous rainfall. The stronger and slower moving the system, the greater the rainfall potential."

While we will not likely have the strength factor with this one, we do have slow movement.

The core of the beefiest downpours will likely be near the center. However, even slow-moving storms on the fringe of the system could unload inches of rain.

Moisture associated in part with Beryl during its infancy dropped tremendous rain in parts of Cuba and the Bahamas.

According to World Weather Expert Jim Andrews, "Santi Spiritus, Cuba, received 17.1 inches of rain this week with 15.1 inches falling on Jacaro, Cuba."

"Freeport in the Bahamas picked up 12.7 inches with most of that falling during the past 48 hours," Andrews added.

This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration drought status map indicates areas of extreme (red) and exceptional (dark red) over a large area of the southeastern U.S. Rain is forecast by to reach part of this area this weekend into early next week.

Areas near and north of where the system make landfall will likely have to contend with locally gusty winds and rough surf for a time.

"Boaters and bathers should keep up to date on the system as it can bring very gusty thunderstorms and rough conditions, even if it fails to develop fully," Kottlowski said.

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