Tropical Storm Julia buffets southern US East Coast


WASHINGTON: Tropical Storm Julia is buffeting the shores of southern US states less than two weeks after Hermine soaked the East Coast, weather forecasters said on Wednesday.

Highly unusual for forming over land — in this case over northeast Florida on Tuesday — Julia was moving northeast just east of Savannah, Georgia, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said at 2100 GMT.

The storm is packing maximum sustained winds of nearly 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers per hour) with higher gusts, it added.

Videos from the South Carolina and Georgia coasts posted on social media showed high winds and heavy rain. Some power outages have been reported.

“A slow and erratic motion is expected over the next couple of days,” the NHC said, saying some strengthening is possible over the next two days. “Julia is likely to meander near the northern Georgia and southern South Carolina coastlines into Friday.”

That could mean four to eight 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain along the South Carolina coast.

“This rainfall could lead to flooding and flash flooding,” the NHC said.

Tropical storm-force winds extend up to 115 miles (185 kilometers) from the storm’s center, it added, saying isolated tornadoes are possible near Charleston, South Carolina, through Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Ian in the central Atlantic Ocean is moving north, but currently poses no threat to land, the NHC said.