Mon, May 28, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Beryl threatens to wipe out Memorial Day weekend in US

AFP, MIAMI

Subtropical storm Beryl headed for the southeastern US coast yesterday, threatening to put a damper on Memorial Day plans for hordes of US beachgoers.

Beryl formed late on Friday in the Atlantic off the coast of South Carolina as rains generated by Bud — once a hurricane — pelted Mexico’s Pacific coast.

As Mexican authorities breathed a sigh of relief, several southeastern US states braced for foul weather yesterday on the holiday weekend that traditionally marks the start of the US summer vacation season.

Memorial Day honors soldiers fallen in US wars, but many skip the parades and stream to the Atlantic beaches for the three-day weekend in search of sun and sand.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for all of Georgia’s coastline, in addition to parts of Florida and South Carolina, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Early yesterday, Beryl was about 345km southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, gaining some strength with top winds of 85kph. It was moving in a southwestern direction at 11kph.

“On the forecast track, the center of Beryl is expected to approach the southeastern coast of the US on Sunday and then make landfall Sunday night or Monday,” the storm center said, adding the storm was not expected to change much in strength during the next day or two as its center remained over water.

Beryl was expected to dump 8cm to 15cm of rain along the coast from northern Florida to southeastern North Carolina.

Emergency officials had previously alerted residents and prepared shelters as Bud — which briefly intensified to a category three hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale — made its approach.

Bud was expected to dump a total of 15cm to 25cm of rain on the southwestern Mexican coastal states of Michoacan, Colima, Jalisco and southern Nayarit, the NHC said.

The Mexican Meteorological Service has forecast 23 tropical storms of various levels of intensity for this year’s hurricane season. Ten of them are expected in the Atlantic Ocean and 13 in the Pacific.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has meanwhile predicted a “near-normal” Atlantic hurricane season is likely.

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