Weakened Beryl still dumping rain on Southeast
(CNN) — A weakened Tropical Depression Beryl was soaking parts of Florida and Georgia on Monday, leaving thousands in the dark and hindering Memorial Day activities.
A tropical storm warning for a large swath of the southeastern Atlantic Coast was canceled as Beryl weakened Monday. However, the National Hurricane Center said tropical storm-force wind gusts remained possible over coastal Florida and Georgia, particularly in rain bands associated with the storm.
As of Monday morning, 3.47 inches of rain had fallen on Keystone Heights, Florida, about 25 miles northeast of Gainesville, according to the National Weather Service. Green Cove Springs, Florida, about 28 miles south of Jacksonville, had gotten 3.35 inches of rain.
Because of Beryl, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown canceled all Memorial Day ceremonies. A Memorial Day event at the Veterans Cemetery in nearby St. Augustine also was canceled, CNN affiliate WTLV reported.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority suspended all bus routes to area beaches.
Twelve flights scheduled to leave Jacksonville were canceled Monday, according to the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.
Beryl’s powerful winds knocked out power across the region.
Outages in the Jacksonville area were under 20,000 Monday morning, according to Tam Roman with the Jacksonville Emergency Preparedness office, down from about 37,000 overnight.
The city’s Matthews Bridge was closed, she said, along with a few roads shut down because of downed power lines. Only 10 people checked into area shelters, she said.
The storm cut a wide swath, also plunging sections of southeastern Georgia into darkness. As of 10:45 a.m., Georgia Power said on Twitter that outages were down to about 2,900 as crews made quick progress. There were about 7,400 outages at 3:45 a.m.
Beryl cut short weekend plans for hundreds of campers and day-trippers to Georgia’s Cumberland Island National Seashore as they were ordered to leave ahead of the storm, the National Park Service said.
CNN iReporter Lisa Wolfson of Jacksonville, who was vacationing at Jacksonville Beach with her family, said they opted to stay in their ninth-floor condominium.
“We have filled water bottles and have flashlights, but we feel safer here than at home because of the large oak trees over our house,” she said Sunday.
As of 11 a.m., the center of Beryl was about 60 miles west-northwest of Jacksonville and about 40 miles east-southeast of Valdosta, Georgia. The storm’s maximum sustained winds had weakened to 35 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, but heavy rains were ongoing. The storm was moving west-northwest at about 6 mph.
Beryl made landfall just after midnight near Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
A wind gust to 73 mph — nearly hurricane strength — was reported at Buck Island, Florida. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay near St. Mary’s, Georgia, recorded a gust of 65 mph, as did Mandarin, Florida. A 60-mph gust was reported at St. Augustine, Florida, the National Weather Service reported.
The storm was expected to turn northward and slow later Monday before turning northeast Tuesday and heading into southeast Georgia. Beryl is expected to move back out into the Atlantic on Wednesday.
The storm comes just ahead of the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins on June 1 and runs through November 30.
A storm surge and high tide could cause coastal flooding of up to 2 feet along the coasts of Georgia and Florida, according to the hurricane center. Dangerous surf conditions, including rip currents, are expected from Florida to coastal North Carolina.
Beryl is expected to dump 4 to 8 inches of rain along parts of the Southeastern coast, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches.
The storm is bringing much needed rain to the area, most of which is experiencing an “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which tracks drought conditions nationwide.
CNN’s Sarah Dillingham, Devon Sayers, Chandler Friedman, Ed Payne, Jessica Jordan and Ric Ward contributed to this report.