"Beryl" reached winds near 70 mph about 8pm according to hurricane hunter aircraft east of the center...it appears the storm has peaked with the center likely to come ashore on the beaches of Duval County between 10pm & 2am. The 40-50 mile wide center will move west with a period of lighter winds before strong winds rev up again between 1am & 5am from east to west ... system otherwise on course...
So a moderate tropical storm will make landfall tonight on the First Coast. There have been numerous winds gusts from Highway 301 to the coast this evening of 30-50 mph with a few gusts near 60 mph right at the coast.
*** Officials recommend no travel if at all possible through Monday ***
** Rain & t'storms will be heavy & widespread through Monday but with a break near the center overnight. Rainfall will average 3-6" through early Tue. with locally 6-10" amounts. Even more heavy rain will be possible much of the rest of the week.
** The rip current risk at area beaches will be very high & winds will continue to increase to 25-40 mph inland, gusts 50+ mph....35-60 mph with gusts 65+ mph at the coast & offshore. Be aware of the lull in winds as the center passes over &/or nearby depending on your proximity to the center. Stay out of the ocean! Seas will be double digit - 10-15 feet....dangerous surf 8-13 feet. Storm surge flooding of 2-4 feet above the ground, especially at hight tide.
** There will also be at least an isolated tornado risk near & north & east of the center with the highest threat middle of the night tonight into Monday.
The center will continue inland & slow down late tonight-Monday. Realize that heavy rain bands & gusty winds will extend far from the center so don't get too caught up in where the center is or is expected to go....not to mention the dangerous surf conditions.
So for NE Florida & SE Georgia & metro Jax...
Tonight-Monday: Rain & storms with heavy rain at times. Isolated tornado threat near & north & east of the center. Windy with rough seas & surf & a very high rip current risk.
What to do now:
* STAY CALM *
* secure any outdoor items that might blow around
* have some batteries handy
* clean/remove debris on or near storm drains on your street
* tune in CBS47 &/or FOX30(!).......
Realize that while a major inconvenience, this storm should not cripple the First Coast. There will be some downed trees & power lines and it could take a while for utility companies to restore power due to persistent wind & heavy rain. Still...virtually all public facilities should be able to function -- if they choose to -- through the storm and be open right after the holiday on Tuesday. If you do decide to venture out tonight & Monday -- many emergency managers & other officials recommend staying inside -- you'll be able to get around but be very cautious. And you should be aware of the inherent risks associated with land falling tropical systems (flooding, debris, isolated tornadoes, etc.)
From what I've been able to dig up, it looks like this year is the first year since 1887 that 2 tropical storms have formed in the month of May in the same year in the Atlantic Basin.
Interesting sidenote -- 2 hurricanes formed in 1908 -- May 24th & also in March(!). According to "Weather Underground"....26 tropical cyclones formed in the Atlantic Basin before the official start of the season since 1851. Only 5 of those storms managed to become hurricanes - 1 "major" -- "Able" & only 1 of the hurricanes affected the U.S. -- May 24th, 1908 on the Outer Banks of N. Carolina.
May 31, 2008: Tropical Storm Arthur (formed very near midnight June 1st)
May 6, 2007: Subtropical Storm Andrea
April 18, 2003: Tropical Storm Ana
April 21, 1992: Subtropical Storm 1
May 6, 1981: Tropical Storm Arlene
January 18, 1978: Subtropical Storm 1
May 21, 1976: Subtropical Storm 1
May 23, 1972: Subtropical Storm Alpha
May 17, 1970: Hurricane Alma (Category 1)
May 28, 1959: Tropical Storm Arlene
February 2, 1953: Tropical Storm Alice
May 25, 1952: Tropical Storm 1
May 15, 1951: Hurricane Able (Category 3)
May 22, 1948: Tropical Storm 1
May 19, 1940: Tropical Storm 1
May 27, 1934: Tropical Storm 1
May 14, 1933: Tropical Storm 1
May 5, 1932: Tropical Storm 1
May 13, 1916: Tropical Storm 1
May 24, 1908: Hurricane 2 (Category 1)
March 6, 1908: Hurricane 1 (Category 2)
May 27, 1890: Tropical Storm 1
May 16, 1889: Hurricane 1 (Category 1)
May 17, 1887: Tropical Storm 2
May 15, 1887: Tropical Storm 1
May 30, 1865: Tropical Storm 1
Click here to see wave height forecasts.....click here for a web briefing from our Jax N.W.S.