The National Hurricane Center downgraded Tropical Storm Beryl to a tropical depression this afternoon less than 24 hours after it made landfall in Florida and brought soaking rains, winds and the possibility of flooding to the southeast coast.
According to the NHC in Miami, Beryl made landfall just after midnight Monday near Jacksonville Beach in Florida with near-hurricane-strength winds of 70 mph.
Less than 11 hours after it hit land, sustained winds had died down to about 35 mph, leading forecasters to downgrade the storm to a tropical depression and cancel all warnings and watches.
In addition to spoiling Memorial Day plans for hordes of beach goers, the storm knocked out power to tens of thousands of people and caused inconveniences on the roadways, but surprisingly no storm-related crashes were reported, ABC reported.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott met with officials in Jacksonville Monday and said it was fortunate that Beryl had not strengthened into a hurricane.
Besides ruining holiday plans, CBS News reported that the rain Beryl brought was welcome on the Southeast coast, especially in Georgia, which had been parched by persistent drought.
“We’ve needed it for a long time,” said Ray Parker, emergency management director for coastal McIntosh County south of Savannah. “We were lucky that we didn’t get 3 to 4 inches in 30 minutes. Most of it soaked right in before it had a chance to run off. It fell on an empty sponge.”
Prior to its downgrade to a depression, Tropical Storm Beryl was expected to bring 4 to 8 inches of rain to parts, with some areas getting as much as a foot.
Forecasters said the storm surge and high tide could bring 2 to 4 feet of flooding in northeastern Florida and Georgia, and 1 to 2 feet in southern South Carolina.