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Tropical Storm Beryl was the second named storm of the 1994 Atlantic hurricane season. Beryl formed on August 14 in the Gulf of Mexico south of the Florida Panhandle. Beryl quickly attained tropical storm status before making landfall along the Florida Panhandle near Panama City. After landfall, Beryl moved generally northeastward and dissipated on August 19. In spite of being a relatively weak storm, Beryl managed to produce flooding and tornadoes across the United States.

Beryl caused $73,000,000 (1994 USD) in damage but caused no fatalities.

Beryl on August 14
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FormationAugust 14, 1994
Dissipation August 19, 1994
Highest winds 60 mph
Lowest pressure 999 mbar
Deaths None reported
Damages $73,000,000 (1994 USD)
Areas affectedFlorida, Eastern United States, Northeastern United States
Part of the 1994 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological history

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Beryl originated from a large upper-level low that developed over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. The low was located a few hundred miles north of Puerto Rico on August 9. The upper-level low moved westward and gradually became more pronounced in the low- to mid-levels of the troposphere. Although the low at the upper levels had degenerated into a trough by the time it passed over southern Florida on August 12, there was evidence of a low- to mid-level cyclonic circulation off the southwestern Florida coast by 1200 UTC that same day. Based on surface observations from Cuba as well as ship reports, a weak 1014 mb low developed off the northwestern coast of Cuba at 0000 UTC August 13. This surface feature appears to have been the lower-tropospheric extension of the low aloft. The winds around the low were rather light and the associated cloud pattern disorganized. For the next 24 hours, the weak surface low moved generally north-northwest, steered by the low-level flow. The cloud pattern gradually became better organized in satellite imagery, and Dvorak classifications were initiated at 0000 UTC August 14. Based on data from a reconnaissance aircraft, as well as data from surface observations, and finally, satellite estimates, it is assumed that the low developed into Tropical Depression Three near 1200 UTC August 14 while located about 100 miles south of Pensacola, Florida.

After forming, the depression drifted to the north. Between 1630 and 2011 UTC August 14, reconnaissance aircraft reported virtually no movement associated with the cyclone. By 0000 UTC August 15, both reconnaissance data as well as satellite imagery indicated that the depression's circulation center reformed to the east of the previous center. At this time, the center was poorly defined on the Eglin AFB doppler radar, but by 0600 UTC, the circulation became better defined in both base velocity and reflectivity data. Between 0000 and 1200 UTC August 15, the depression drifted to the east-northeast, becoming better organized as it did so. Rains began to spread over portions of the west coast of the Florida Peninsula as well as the Florida Panhandle. At 1200 UTC August 15, based on reports from reconnaissance aicraft as well as surface observations, it is estimated that the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Beryl. Between 1200 and 1800 UTC, the center moved erratically, possibly influenced by a mesocyclone to the south of the cyclone. After 1800 UTC, Beryl drifted generally north-northeast in response to an approaching mid-tropospheric trough. At around 0000 UTC August 16, Beryl made landfall near Panama City, Florida.

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NEXRAD radar image of Beryl at landfall.

Beryl weakened to a tropical depression over southwestern Georgia around 1200 UTC August 16. Beryl continued moving north-northeast but with an increase in foward speed. Although the winds associated with the dissipating stage of the cyclone were not significant, a surface low pressure system could be tracked from Georgia through the western portions of the Carolinas, Virginia, and West Virginia, and then northeastward through Maryland and Pennsylvania, then finally east-northeastward through New York to Connecticut. By 0600 UTC August 19, Beryl became absorbed by a frontal zone. Very heavy rainfall as well as tornadoes occured in association with the dissipating stage of Beryl from Georgia to New York.

Preparations

Due to Beryl's landfall, Tropical Storm Watches as well as Tropical Storm Warnings were issued for the Florida Panhandle. In addition, some Flood Watches were issued after the storm made landfall, since the cyclone's foward speed decreased. In addition, there were Tornado Warnings issued for northeastern Georgia and South Carolina. The next day, the Flood Watches were extended to include parts of Tennessee, western North Carolina, South Carolina, as well as western Virginia. Later on, a Tornado Watch was issued for the western portion of Virginia. Also, there were Tornado Watches issued for New Jersey, Delaware, eastern and central Maryland and West Virginia on August 17. Finally, Flash Flood Warnings were issued for Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Impact

Beryl, unlike Alberto, spread its heavy rainfall all along the Eastern Seaboard to due to its fast foward speed. Beryl produced inland flooding as it moved through Georgia, the Carolinas, and up through Connecticut. Total damage from Beryl is estimated at $73,000,000 (1994 USD). Although the cyclone caused no fatalities, there were a large number of people injured by the 37 tornadoes spawned by Beryl.

Florida

Oysters in the Apalachicola Bay could not be harvested during the prime winter of 1994, due to runoff from the sediment of rivers, from 9 inches of rain produced by Tropical Storm Beryl. Beryl produced a 3 to 5 foot storm surge, with a large area receiving 5 to 10 inches of rain. In addition, Beryl produced localized rainfall amounts of a foot or more. No serious injuries were reported in Florida in association with Beryl, although residents did report strong winds from the storm.

Georgia

In Georgia, Beryl produced 10 inches of rain in 24 hours, with a confirmed report 13.59 inches occuring in Tallulah Falls in the northeastern portion of the state. A spokesman for Thomas County stated that roads were flooded, although they were passable by cars. She also said that "we really don't have anything that's blown out as far as bridges and culverts, but we do have a lot of trees down." Also, a tornado was reported east of Athens that destroyed a house as well as a shop. However, the tornado caused no reported injuries.

Carolinas

Beryl produced 10 inches of rain in 24 hours across both South Carolina and North Carolina. In addition, the cyclone's rainbands spawned tornadoes across South Carolina. Several tornadoes were reported in Lexington, South Carolina, located just west of Columbia. The Village Center shopping center caved in due to an F3 tornado spawned by the storm. The tornado injured 35 people, none seriously, and initially, two people were missing due to the tornado. 25 people were taken to the Lexington Medical Center, mostly for cuts, bruises, and broken or dislocated bones. Beryl destroyed a total of 40 to 50 buildings in South Carolina. The aforementioned F3 tornado travelled 5 miles until it reached Lake Murray, at which point it dissipated. The damage path was a quarter mile wide and caused widespread destruction of buildings and homes. Another F3 tornado touched down south of Lexington, where it completely destroyed a square stick frame home. Also, Beryl spawned three other tornadoes in Lexington County. An F1 tornado touched down from 11:09 to 11:30 AM local time, in a rural area, was 75 yards wide, and its path was 5 miles long. The tornado overturned a mobile home at the intersection of Highway 64 and Highway 301, causing a serious injury.

At the WSFO Weather Bureau, a significant failure of the WSR-88D doppler radar at the RFA occured from 1:17 to 1:39 PM local time. This caused the weather bureau to miss a tornado that touched down in southwestern Richland County at 1:30 PM local time, despite the fact that emergency technicians attempted to quickly respond to the problem. The WSR-74C was used as a backup radar, but it didn't detect the tornado that touched down.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, Beryl caused $3.9 million (1994 USD) damage in Bradford County, particularly in the northwestern portion of the county. Ridgebury was hit particularly hard, since it had been struck by flooding two or three times earlier that summer.

New York

In New York, Beryl caused approximately $5,000,000 (1994 USD) in Chemung County, with $2.5 million to $3,000,000 (1994 USD) occuring in the town of Southport, including 7 to 8 bridges. The communities of Ashland, Elmira, as well as Elmira Heights were hit particularly hard by the storm. At least 25 homes and businesses were damaged, which qualified the county for state assistance. Around 60 to 70 residents had to be evacuated. An injury occured when a woman climbed up a dike to see the flooding, and then fell and broke her leg. Some locations in the Moravia area of Cayuga County were under 2 to 3 feet of water in the flood plain of Owasco Lake. Damage occured to some roads in the southern portion of the county, and floodwaters inundated 16 to 18 homes. No damage figures exist for Cayuga County. There was $650,000 (1994 USD) in damage, including several roads and bridges being damaged. Damage figures for private housing and residence is unknown. The southern towns of Campbell, Erwin, and Hornby were hit particularly hard by the storm. Also, the Watson Homestead retreat, which contained 100 children, 70 of which were handicapped, was flooded when the Meads Creek overflowed, dividing the property in half, and taking out the main bridge.

The children inside were evacuated without much difficulty. Elsewhere, a man had to be rescued by the Homby Fire Department when a bridge crossing a small stream gave way as he drove across it. Water entered the Waverly town hall, which caused damage to some of the town's records, with a total of $1.5 million (1994 USD) in damage reported. In addition, damage occured to roads and private residences in the towns of Butternuts, Gilbertsville, Unadilla, and the fringes of Otego, in Otsego County. In total, a minimum of 14 houses were damaged by the storm. Seven roads in Butternuts had $20,000 (1994 USD) in damage done to them. New York State Route 7 was closed for a number of hours due to flooding.

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Rainfall totals from Tropical Storm Beryl.

Lack of Retirement

In spite of the damage, the name Beryl was not retired in the Spring of 1995 by the World Meteorological Organization. It used again during the 2000 Atlantic hurricane season, and was also used during the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

1994 Atlantic hurricane season

References

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1994/beryl/prenhc/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Storm_Beryl_%281994%29

External links

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