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Tropical Storm Beryl strengthens, nears U.S. coast

9:14 AM, May 28, 2012   |    comments
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Tropical Storm Beryl is close to making landfall in the southeastern U.S. as coastal areas are already starting to feel the impact of heavy rains and strong winds.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported late Saturday that Beryl was 35 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla., and 75 miles (121 kilometers) south-southeast of Brunswick, Ga. Forecasters said the storm is moving west at 7 mph (11 kph) and its center should cross the coast over the next few hours.

Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (113 kph) with higher gusts. Forecasters said the system should begin to weaken as it moves inland and becomes a tropical depression.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the entire Georgia coastline, as well as parts of Florida and South Carolina.

Florida Governor Rick Scott issued the following statement about the storm:

"As Tropical Storm Beryl approaches Florida's northeast coast, I urge all Floridians in the affected communities to stay alert and aware. Tropical Storm Beryl is expected to bring heavy rain and winds, and it is vital to continue to monitor local news reports and listen to the advice of local emergency management officials. It is a holiday weekend, and many families may be away from home and not tuned into the most updated information. It is imperative that radio stations and business owners in our tourism industry help inform visitors of the potential dangers and impact of the storm. By taking the recommended precautions prior to a storm, Florida's residents, visitors and businesses will be prepared for the potential impact and recover more quickly in the days following. For the latest information, please visit"

More Beryl coverage:

Beryl forecast: Beryl's outer bands bring rainfall

Video: Beryl makes landfall 

Beryl could snarl holiday traffic

Beryl prompts warnings for east coast

Photos: Tropical Storm Beryl

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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