Beryl a little stronger, closes in on Southeast U.S. coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:21 PM GMT on May 27, 2012

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The beach-going weather this Memorial Day weekend will deteriorate rapidly this afternoon along the Southeast U.S. coast near the Florida/Georgia border, where Subtropical Storm Beryl is steadily closing in. A hurricane hunter aircraft found top surface winds near 60 mph in heavy thunderstorms to the northeast of Beryl's center at 9:15 am EDT this morning; top winds in the region to the southwest of the center were a little weaker, near 55 mph. This region is now approaching the coast of northern Florida. Winds at the Buoy 41012, 46 miles ENE of St. Augustine and to the southeast of Beryl's center, hit 38 mph gusting to 49 mph, at 11 am EDT this morning. Wave heights at the buoy were 12 feet, and Beryl is driving heavy surf that is generating dangerous rip currents along a large section of the Southeast U.S. coast. On Saturday, at least 32 people were rescued by lifeguards at Tybee Island, Georgia due to strong rip currents generated by Beryl's crashing surf.


Figure 1. True-color MODIS satellite image of Beryl taken at 12:20 pm EDT May 26, 2012 by NASA's Aqua satellite. At the time, Beryl was a subtropical storm with winds of 45 mph.


Figure 2. Morning radar image from the long-range radar out of Jacksonville, FL.

Forecast for Beryl
Beryl is still a subtropical storm, as evidenced by its large, cloud-free center, but the storm is steadily building a large amount of heavy thunderstorms near the center this morning, as the storm traverses the core of the Gulf Stream. The warm 27 - 28°C (81 - 83°F) waters of the Gulf Stream are helping warm and moisten the atmosphere near Beryl's core, and it is possible that Beryl will become a tropical storm before landfall late Sunday night. As I explain in my Subtropical Storm Tutorial, the fact that the storm has not been able to generate a tight inner core with heavy thunderstorms near the center will limit its intensification potential, and we need not be concerned about rapid intensification of Beryl while it is still subtropical.The clockwise flow of air around an extremely intense ridge of high pressure that is bringing record heat to the Midwest this weekend is currently driving Beryl to the west. As Beryl approaches the coast tonight, the storm will move off of the warmest Gulf Stream waters into waters that are cooler (25°, 77°F), and with lower total heat content. A portion of the storm's circulation will also be over land, and these two factors will limit the storm's potential to strengthen. Beryl is also struggling against a large amount of dry that surrounds the storm, due to the presence of an upper-level trough of low pressure. The 11 am Sunday wind probability advisory from NHC gave Beryl just an 6% chance of becoming a hurricane before landfall. Flooding due to heavy rains is probably not a huge concern with this storm, particularly since the Southeast U.S. coast is under moderate to extreme drought. The 3 - 6 inches of rain expected from Beryl will not be enough to bust the drought, since the Southeast U.S. is generally suffering a rainfall deficit of 9 - 12 inches (Figure 4.) Heavy rains from Beryl will begin affecting coastal Georgia and Northern Florida near 3 pm Sunday.


Figure 3. Predicted rainfall from Beryl, as taken from the 06 UTC May 27, 2012 run of the HWRF model. A large area of 4 - 8 inches of rain (dark green colors) is predicted for the drought-stricken areas of Northern Florida and Southern Georgia. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA/GFDL.


Figure 4. Much of the Southeast U.S. needs 9 - 12 inches of rain (red colors) to bust the current drought. A drought is defined as "busted" when the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) goes higher than -0.5. As seen from the HWRF precipitation forecast in Figure 3, most of the drought relief from Beryl will occur near the coast, and the most needy areas (purple colors in Figure 3) are expected to get little rainfall. Image credit: NOAA.

Links to follow
Wundermap for the FL/GA coastal region
Long-range radar out of Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville, FL live pier cam

Scorching May heat wave hits much of the U.S.; severe weather expected in the Midwest
An exceptionally strong high pressure system anchored over the central U.S. is bringing record-smashing May heat to much of the country this Memorial Day weekend. Dozens of daily high temperature records fell on Saturday, including several all-time records for the month of May. Vichy-Rolla, Missouri hit 98°F, beating its all-time May heat record of 95° set on May 15, 1899. Columbus, Georgia hit 97°F, tying the record hottest May day on record. Saturday's high of 100°F in Tallahassee was the second highest May temperature since record keeping began in 1892. Pensacola's 98°F on Saturday was its second highest May temperature since record keeping began in 1879 (the record May temperature in both cities is 102°F, set on May 27, 1953.) Nashville, Tennessee hit 95°F on Saturday, just 1° shy of their all-time May heat record. That record could fall today, and numerous all-time May heat records will be threatened in the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Tennessee Valley. As is often the case when one portion of the country is experiencing record heat, the other half is seeing unusually cool conditions, due to a large kink in the jet stream. Billings, Montana received 1.3" of snow Saturday, and Great Falls had received 2.3" as of 6 am this morning. The dividing line between the warm conditions in the Eastern U.S. and cool conditions to the west lies over Nebraska and Kansas today, and NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has placed portions of these states in their "Moderate Risk" area for severe weather--the second highest level of alert.

Jeff Masters

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Will really be interesting to see what the HHs find when they go back through the center from the NE.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wunderweatherman123:
who?


Think his name is Norcross or something. Not positive.

Quoting TerraNova:


You sure that's not all of TWC that's making you feel that way?


Probably is. LOL. Only reason I turned it on TWC was to watch live coverage.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10156
Quoting hurricane23:


Het tony!!


Hey Adrian...been a long time, great to see you are still around and doing well!:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:


friend him on FB, hes always posting pics too.

He works for the Texas NWS I believe now, maybe the Austin office.


He's at San Angelo
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
Omg, the new hurricane expert for TWC is awful. It's like sticking toothpicks in your ears when you listen to him...


You sure that's not all of TWC that's making you feel that way?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NCSCguy:

Hey thats kinda what i was getting at. Its good to see another Charlestonian here.


Yeah...hello.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Why would you even watch TWC in the first place? LOL


I like to look at the pretty pictures, okay??
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10156
Quoting ncforecaster:


The data most certainly suggests a 65 kt. (74 mph) category one hurricane. Both the 73 kt. (84 mph) flight level wind and the 62 kt. (71 mph) SFMR reading support an intensity no less than 60-65 kt. (70-75 mph). Since it's unlikely that RECON is able to sample the absolute peak wind in any hurricane or TS, one could rightly argue that Beryl is, and already should be, declared a 75 mph category one hurricane.

The question is whether the NHC will keep it as a 70 mph TS or upgrade it to a hurricane prior to landfall. If not, I suspect they will in post-season reanalysis-the data most certainly supports the upgrade.


Het tony!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
Omg, the new hurricane expert for TWC is awful. It's like sticking toothpicks in your ears when you listen to him...
who?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
Omg, the new hurricane expert for TWC is awful. It's like sticking toothpicks in your ears when you listen to him...
Why would you even watch TWC in the first place? LOL
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Well, for whatever reason, this thing might go RI anyway...

The Radar is saying 87kts storm relative winds, and 97kts radar relative winds, now that might be flight level or so, since it could be farther out away from the station in the bad cells, but kts is pretty much mph at surface, so it's kicking up some power right now.

That might be maximum gusts, not sure how the radar finds that peak winds number.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Omg, the new hurricane expert for TWC is awful. It's like sticking toothpicks in your ears when you listen to him...


Who is it?
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Kinda glad I'm not in Jacksonville right now, obviously.

Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2682
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2685
1351. Patrap
Have the Florida State Officials given any Media Outlets Updates today,via TV,Radio or Net?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125524
Quoting K8eCane:
I am appalled NHC got some splainin to do. A lot of people were depending on them


Intensity forecast here was always going to be tricky, considering the reluctance of the models in intensification, and the late transition to a tropical system, but I do think they hugely underestimated the possibility of Beryl becoming a strong TS/minimal hurricane, and I am shocked that they didn't issue any hurricane watches, never mind warnings.
Member Since: August 10, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 1970
1349. Grothar
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
I've never seen a storm so close to hurricane strength and so close to landfall without a hurricane watch up.


People are all going to the beach to watch it come in. They are even in the water.
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Omg, the new hurricane expert for TWC is awful. It's like sticking toothpicks in your ears when you listen to him...
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10156
1347. robyng
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


what 0 ?


Not to mention that there is too much noise to useful information here. I will continue to follow the storm on more conventional websites - and observe my back yard from the porch (until it's time for dinner). Unless I lose power.

FWIW - when it comes to Citizens - I am in favor of abolishing it - at least in its current form. No reason a 20 year old college student who lives with his parents and owns a car should subsidize anyone's homeowners' insurance in Florida (Citizens puts surcharges on almost all forms of insurance here - with a few exceptions - like workers' comp). Robyn
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
I've never seen a storm so close to hurricane strength and so close to landfall without a hurricane watch up.


Yeah normally they put one up just to cover the possibility.
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2685
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
well its a little late but pick up as much of the yard things as you can cause the wind is going to blow them away were you not watchin girl



Thanks all! Gonna start round up. The gusts are getting stronger as the day goes on. So busy this weekend with the holiday, forgot to check on this storm.
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1344. Patrap
Quoting K8eCane:
I am appalled NHC got some splainin to do. A lot of people were depending on them


Thats a tad over reach easily.

Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches have been up for 24 Hours now.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125524
I've never seen a storm so close to hurricane strength and so close to landfall without a hurricane watch up.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Watch live streaming video from jaxpiercam at livestream.com
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1341. K8eCane
I said that sarcastically last night, tonight i mean it
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3040
Quoting SCwannabe:


what are we going to see in Charleston?


Nothing but wind until Tuesday, could be a severe set up with heavy rain Tuesday afternoon and night, especially if the center of whats left of Beryl at that time goes west of us.
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By the time the HH makes the turn from the current Northerly heading and gets back to the center from the NE friction with land may have started slowing Beryl down.
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1338. K8eCane
I am appalled NHC got some splainin to do. A lot of people were depending on them
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3040
1337. NCSCguy
Quoting SCwannabe:


what are we going to see in Charleston?

Hey thats kinda what i was getting at. Its good to see another Charlestonian here.
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1336. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting kimSCbeaches:
Not sure if it's hype or fact. Our local tv station here near Myrtle Beach just claimed the winds are now just under 70 mph and nearly hurricane strength. We are being warned to watch the weather closely now! I am so not prepared for this! Would one of you weather guru's help me out here LOL ps- I am always emergency prepared, just not my yard & things ;)
well its a little late but pick up as much of the yard things as you can cause the wind is going to blow them away were you not watchin girl
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If Beryl becomes a hurricane, expect the NHC to issue a special advisory adding a hurricane warning, most likely from Brunswick, GA to Daytona Beach, FL.
Member Since: July 14, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 1715
That's part of the problem with approaching storms, until they get in range of the radar the beam is overshooting the most intense part of the thunderstorms. It can be deceiving.
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2685
Quoting Patrap:
The western Side of the Eyewall has reached the Beach



6:21 at the Beach and a light rain just started.
Member Since: April 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
Quoting avthunder:
I miss John Hope - he was the best.


I'm like 3 miles away from his burial site. If I decide to go into meteorology I will have to pay him a visit.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Boys in the plan are about to do a NE quad pass.

Hold on...
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15718
There have been four recorded May hurricanes in the Atlantic.

Alma - 1970 (Category 1)
Able - 1951 (Category 3)
Storm #2 - 1908 (Category 1)
Storm #1 - 1889 (Category 1)
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Quoting kimSCbeaches:
Not sure if it's hype or fact. Our local tv station here near Myrtle Beach just claimed the winds are now just under 70 mph and nearly hurricane strength. We are being warned to watch the weather closely now! I am so not prepared for this! Would one of you weather guru's help me out here LOL ps- I am always emergency prepared, just not my yard & things ;)


It's fact, that's what the recon found. The NHC really needs to issue Hurricane Warnings stat.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23012
1328. Grothar
Live feed. This has to be restarted after 7 minutes

Link
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1327. Patrap
Quoting charlottefl:
Maybe they can have time to bring at least some projectiles inside and find a safe place to ride it out.


That should have all been done, the prep work as the TS Warnings have been up almost a day I believe.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125524
Personally, I really think they should upgrade it. There is no time left for panic, and people should at least know. Maybe they can have time to bring at least some projectiles inside and find a safe place to ride it out.
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2685
Beaches near JAX are going to get whacked by that NW side.

Crazy heavy rain and some high winds in there.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15718
1324. BDAwx
I'm thinking a tornado watch might be necessary later tonight. I'm surprised they wouldn't even issue hurricane watches - in my opinion, that's a little reckless.
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Wow.

Look how much development has taken place in the past several hours.

The rain bands have really blossomed into shields, and closed off a lot of the circulation.

Earlier, it was just a lot of scattered showers around a CoC, but now it's solid.

This might even be like a cat 2 or 3 if it had a upper level high instead of an upper level low. Goodness...
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Quoting cchsweatherman:


I'd also be quite concerned about that southeastern and eastern eye-wall since the convection has been deeper in that region and, with being so far from the radar site, the radar return already shows very intense thunderstorms.


what are we going to see in Charleston?
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1321. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125524
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10156
1318. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Grothar:
Its bringing bad weather all down the state

gonna be a long night may go quasi stationary before a circle dance nnw then ne as out she goes
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Not sure if it's hype or fact. Our local tv station here near Myrtle Beach just claimed the winds are now just under 70 mph and nearly hurricane strength. We are being warned to watch the weather closely now! I am so not prepared for this! Would one of you weather guru's help me out here LOL ps- I am always emergency prepared, just not my yard & things ;)
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1316. NCSCguy
What do you guys think the track is going to be like when she turns north?
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http://www.jaxpiercam.com/

There are STILL idiots on the beach, yeah have fun with that.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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