Tropical Storm Beryl (1994)
|Tropical storm (SSHWS/NWS)|
|Formed||August 14, 1994|
|Dissipated||August 19, 1994|
|Highest winds||1-minute sustained: 60 mph (95 km/h)
|Lowest pressure||1000 mbar (hPa); 29.53 inHg|
|Damage||$73 million (1994 USD)|
|Areas affected||Gulf Coast of the United States, Eastern United States|
|Part of the 1994 Atlantic hurricane season|
Tropical Storm Beryl, was the second named storm of the 1994 Atlantic hurricane season. Beryl originated north of Puerto Rico as an upper-level low pressure system, then passed over Florida, then entered the gulf where it became a tropical depression. The storm had advisories on it for five days; its winds peaked at 60 mph (97 km/h) before dissipating over the Northeast United States. Beryl caused $73 million (1994 USD) in damage, over the eastern portion of the United States. Most of the damage was from tornadoes or flooding from the tropical storm. Beryl caused moderate to minor injuries, and 1 death.
A large upper-level low pressure area developed over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean that was situated to the north of Puerto Rico on August 9. The disturbance moved westward, and despite weakening to a trough in the upper levels of the atmosphere, there was evidence of a low- to mid-level circulation off the southwest coast of Florida on August 12. The next day, surface observations and ship reports suggested the presence of a weak 1014 mb surface low pressure system. Moving towards the north-northwest, a cloud-pattern was identified on satellite imagery, and Dvorak estimates were initiated at 0000 UTC on August 14. Based on data from surface observations, satellite imagery, and information from reconnaissance aircraft, the system is estimated to have become a tropical depression at 1200 UTC on August 14; at the time, the depression was located approximately 120 miles (190 km) south of Pensacola, Florida.
The depression drifted slowly towards the north after being designated, while its poorly defined center of circulation was organizing. Between 1630 and 2011 UTC on August 14, the system was nearly stationary; a few hours later, there were indications that the storm's center reformed to the east of its original location. The depression tracked slowly towards the east-northeast while producing rainfall throughout portions of Florida. Becoming better organized, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Beryl on August 15. Possibly influenced by a mesoscale featured noted to the south of Beryl's circulation, the center of circulation began moving erratically after being upgraded. However in response to an approaching trough, the storm turned towards the north and made landfall near Panama City, Florida at 0000 UTC on August 16. Offshore winds generated coastal flooding along portions of the coast, and even after the storm moved inland, high winds were reported in the Apalachee Bay area.
About 12 hours after moving ashore, Beryl weakened to a tropical depression. With increasing forward motion, the depression continued towards the north-northeast. By 1800 UTC the depression was situated to the south of Atlanta, Georgia; slowly weakening, the storm's remnants were identified near Asheville, North Carolina early on August 17. While located over Maryland, rainfall associated with the low extended into the Mid-Atlantic, New York, and New England. The system also maintained rainbands accompanied by thunderstorms and heavy rainfall. Throughout the East Coast, the system spawned heavy precipitation and tornadoes. The low continued to track northeastward; after passing through Connecticut, the low was absorbed into a frontal trough on August 19.
In advance of the storm, a tropical storm watch was posted from Pensacola, Florida to Cedar Key on August 15. Later that day, the watch was replaced with a tropical storm warning that extended from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to Yankeetown, Florida. The warning was discontinued for areas west of Apalachicola, Florida, and by 1200 UTC on August 16, all tropical cyclone warnings and watches were lifted. Initially, the public advisories issued by the National Hurricane Center on the storm warned primarily of heavy rain, as Beryl was expected to remain a weak cyclone. However, when the storm slowed in forward motion and the potential for intensification increased, the advisories emphasized the potential for coastal flooding. Tornado watches were issued for parts of Florida. Flash flood watches and warnings were also declared for parts of the state.
Flash flood watches, warnings, and tornado watches were posted for portions of Georgia as Beryl progressed inland. Flash flood watches and warnings were also initiated throughout parts of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. A tornado watch was declared for central and eastern North Carolina on August 17; similar advisories were placed into effect over parts of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Flash flood advisories were also issued northward into New York.
Tropical Storm Beryl was a weak system, and unlike Alberto, its rapid motion up the Eastern Seaboard spread its heavy rainfall across a large area. Beryl caused inland flooding as it moved through Georgia, across the Carolinas, and all the way to Connecticut. Property damage was estimated at USD73 million. 5.9 million dollars of damage was in Florida, 4 million in South Carolina, 15 million in Virginia, and 12 million in New York, with other states likely having smaller totals. Although there were no deaths caused by Beryl, a large number of people were injured by the 37 tornadoes Beryl produced as it weakened.
Oysters in the Apalachicola Bay could not be harvested in the prime winter of 1994, due to runoff from the sediment of rivers, from 9 inches (230 mm) of rain. In addition, rainfall from Tropical Storm Alberto earlier in the season and Beryl caused nearly 30 inches (762 mm) of rain in some areas of the Florida Panhandle, in the span of barely more than a month. Offshore of Florida, tides of 3 to 5 feet (1.5 m) were reported. No deaths or serious injuries were reported in Florida, although damage from Beryl was estimated at USD5.9 million. Residents also reported that there was high wind in their areas.
Georgia and the Carolinas
10 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, across Georgia. A confirmed report of 13.59 inches (345 mm) occurred in Tallulah Falls in northeast Georgia. A spokesman for Thomas County said that roads were flooded, but 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." A tornado was reported east of Athens, that destroyed a house and a shop. However, no injuries were reported.
10 inches of rain fell in 24 hours across North Carolina and South Carolina. A total estimated $37 million (1994 USD) in damage resulted from thunderstorms and tornadoes. A total of 23 tornadoes were reported across South Carolina from outer rain bands of Beryl. This was the largest tornado outbreak on record for the state of South Carolina at the time (Now 2nd largest as it was surpassed by a tornado outbreak in 2004 caused by the remnants of Hurricane Frances.) Several tornadoes resulted from Beryl in Lexington, South Carolina, just west of Columbia. The Village Center shopping center caved in, as a result of an F3 tornado, which resulted in 35 people being injured, none seriously, and two people missing initially. 25 people were taken to Lexington Medical Center, mostly for cuts, bruises, and broken or dislocated bones. 40 to 50 buildings in total, were damaged or destroyed. The F3 tornado went across 5 miles (8.0 km), until it reached Lake Murray. The damage path was a quarter mile wide and caused widespread destruction of buildings and homes. Another F3 tornado touched down 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Lexington, where it completely leveled a square stick frame home. Three other tornadoes touched down in Lexington County. An F1 tornado touched down from 11:09 to 11:30 AM local time, in a rural area, was 75 yards (69 m) wide, and its path was 5 miles (8.0 km) long. It overturned a mobile home at the intersection of highways 64 and 301, causing one serious injury. At the WSFO, Weather Bureau, a significant failure of the WSR-88D at the RFA occurred from 1:17 to 1:39 PM local time. This caused the National Weather Service to miss a tornado that downed in southwest Richland County at 1:30 local time, even though the emergency technicians tried to quickly respond to the problem. The WSR-74C was used as a backup, but didn't detect the tornado that touched down.
Thunderstorms associated with Beryl's remnants dropped 3 to 5 inches (76 to 127 mm) of rainfall in parts of Maryland. Creeks in the region rose to elevated levels, and flooding of roads, yards, and basements was reported.
New York and New England
Beryl generally produced 1 to 3 inches (25 to 76 mm) of rainfall throughout central and eastern New York State, peaking at 4.28 inches (109 mm). The precipitation led to flash flooding in the Susquehanna and western Catskills regions of the state. Numerous streams and rivers overflowed their banks, resulting in extensive flood damage. Tioga, Steuben, and Chemung counties were the hardest hit areas. In Chemung County, damage from the storm is estimated at $5 million (1994 USD), over half of which was within the town of Southport. Several bridges and over 25 homes were damaged; between 60 and 70 residents in the county were forced to evacuate. Beryl's remnants inflicted $650,000 (1994 USD) in municipal damage to Steuben County, where one man was rescued from flood waters by a local fire department. Tioga County received $1.5 million (1994 USD) in damage; a woman in the town of Tioga drowned after attempted to leave her stranded vehicle. At least 14 homes were damaged in Otsego County; seven highways sustained severe damage, including portions of New York State Route 7, which was forced to close for several hours. Elsewhere in the state, flood waters reached 2 to 3 feet (0.61 to 0.91 m) in some locations, with roads and basements throughout the region flooded. Damage in New York totaled $12 million (1994 USD). Light to moderate rainfall extended into much of southern and central New England, particularly throughout portions of Connecticut and Massachusetts. The precipitation peaked at 5.39 inches (137 mm) at West Hartford, Connecticut.
- List of Florida hurricanes
- Timeline of the 1994 Atlantic hurricane season
- List of North Carolina hurricanes (1980–present)
- (FEMA totals)
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- (NOAA Newspaper Archive st0901p1)
- (NOAA Newspaper Archive mh0817p1)
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- (NOAA Newspaper Archive mh0817p2)
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