Tropical Depression Bonnie Means Another Bad Beach Day

This NOAA satellite image taken Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 9:45 AM EDT shows Tropical Depression Two continuing to move northwest towards the North and South Carolina coastline as it is expected to slightly strengthen into a weak tropical storm before making landfall. Elsewhere, a weak frontal boundary is draped across northern portions of New England, with thunderstorms beginning to develop across New York and Pennsylvania. A broad amount of cloud cover is also observed over the Midwestern United States with a north-south oriented frontal boundary. (Weather Underground va AP)

This NOAA satellite image taken Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 9:45 AM EDT shows Tropical Depression Two continuing to move northwest towards the North and South Carolina coastline as it is expected to slightly strengthen into a weak tropical storm before making landfall. Elsewhere, a weak frontal boundary is draped across northern portions of New England, with thunderstorms beginning to develop across New York and Pennsylvania. A broad amount of cloud cover is also observed over the Midwestern United States with a north-south oriented frontal boundary. (Weather Underground va AP)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Tropical Depression Bonnie reached the South Carolina coast early Sunday, bringing heavy rain and rough tides to an area packed with tourists for the Memorial Day weekend.

The National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm made landfall just east of Charleston, South Carolina, on the Isle of Palms around 8:30 a.m.

Forecasters say up to 8 inches of rain have fallen in parts of southern South Carolina. A flash flood warning was issued for Jasper County, where the southbound lanes of busy Interstate 95 were closed because of high water. About 3 inches of rain fell in Charleston in 24 hours and more is expected, according to the National Weather Service.

Rescue crews in Carolina Beach south of Wilmington, North Carolina, are looking for a 21-year-old man who disappeared Saturday evening while swimming with two friends who made it back to shore safely, according to the Carolina Beach Police Department.

Further north, up to 3 inches was expected across southeastern North Carolina.

But for the most part, the rain was just an unwelcome visitor over the long holiday weekend.

Caretta Coffee Co. sits just a short walk from the beach on Hilton Head Island. Owner Connie Inggs said business was much slower Saturday as vacationers stayed in. But it picked up Sunday as they looked for something to do, even as the downpours continued.

"It's a very tropical morning," Inggs said. "Why not sit back and wait for the weather to get better?"

Usually the beaches at Hilton Head Island are packed with people as Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. But lifeguards were looking out over mostly empty sand as the rain fell, said Shore Beach Service Operations Manager Mike Wagner.

"They are keeping an eye on things," Wagner said. "As soon as it stops raining for a minute, we'll have people back out there."

Wagner's main worry if the weather clears is heavy surf and rip currents that can suddenly pull swimmers into deeper waters. Some beaches in Georgia, South Carolina and southern North Carolina put up no swimming flags.

No evacuations have been ordered.

Forecasters said an isolated tornado or two will be possible early Sunday over the immediate coastal region from central South Carolina through southern North Carolina.

Near Myrtle Beach, authorities said they were worried mostly about heavy rain causing dangerous driving conditions as thousands of bikers and their motorcycles make their annual trip to the area.

The first Atlantic storm of 2016 was Hurricane Alex, which made an unseasonable debut in January over the far eastern Atlantic. The storm was the first hurricane to form in the Atlantic in January since 1938 and made landfall in the Azores on Jan. 15.

May. 29, 2016 11:52 AM EDTAP

 
 

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