Beryl sloshed ashore near Jacksonville, Fla., on Memorial Day and was a tropical depression Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph. It was centered about 115 miles west-southwest of Savannah and was moving northeast near 5 mph.
The National Hurricane Center said that, on that track, the storm was expected to skim along the South Carolina coast early today before moving back over the Atlantic and strengthening again into a tropical storm with sustained winds of more than 39 mph.
Beryl is the second named tropical system of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season that doesn’t officially begin until Friday.
Skies were hazy and the sun occasionally peaked through Tuesday in Charleston while there was a hazy sun for sunbathers at nearby Folly Beach. Swimmers stayed close to the shoreline as the surf roiled and yellow caution flags flew from lifeguard stations.
By late afternoon, flood watches for areas south of Savannah were dropped although flash flood watches remained in effect for the mid-South Carolina coast and flood watches were posted for the upper coast.
Georgia emergency management officials say they expect a tropical depression to bring more heavy rain to the state, but no major damage has been reported so far.
Zarron Allen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, said Beryl dumped 10 inches of rain in Sewanee County, Florida, while nearby areas wound up with 3 to 6 inches.
Forecasters had predicted that up to 4 inches could fall on parts of South Carolina, although dry air began to wrap into the system in Georgia and by late in the day, the forecast called for only about 2 inches of new rain.
Rain would be welcome along the South Carolina coast after what has been a warm winter and dry spring. Rainfall in the Charleston area is about 4 inches below normal for the year.
Meteorologist Brett Cimbora of the National Weather Service in Charleston said rain would be sporadic at first as bands of showers spin up off the ocean, then become steadier. “The storm is moving pretty slow and it’s bringing in rain off the water,” he said.