Local News

Tropical Storm Beryl Forms Off N.C. Coast

Posted July 19, 2006

— Tropical Storm Beryl, the second named storm of 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, formed off the North Carolina coast Tuesday and a tropical storm watch was issued for the eastern part of the state.

A hurricane reconnaissance aircraft reported that the storm's maximum sustained winds were at least 40 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. At 5 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Beryl was centered about 110 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras and was moving toward the north at about 7 mph.

The storm is expected to make its closest approach to North Carolina on Wednesday and it was forecast to remain a tropical storm, said hurricane specialist Eric Blake.

The tropical storm watch, indicating tropical storm conditions are possible within 36 hours, extended along the coast from north of Cape Lookout to south of Currituck Beach Light.

"We are watching the storm very closely. With the projected track at this point we're not anticipating problems, but certainly things can change quickly," said Dorothy Toolan, a spokeswoman for Dare County, N.C., which includes the state's northern Outer Banks.

The first named storm of the June to November Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Alberto, splashed ashore in Florida in mid-June, then plowed northward along the coast past North Carolina's Outer Banks. It was blamed for one drowning.

Experts say the Atlantic Ocean is in the middle of a cycle of increased hurricane activity. Last year, there were a record 28 named storms and 15 hurricanes, including destructive Katrina.

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