No-name storm lands with rain in Carolinas

September 26, 2008 10:57:56 AM PDT
A storm that never quite gained tropical strength or a name over the Atlantic blew ashore with drenching rain Friday in the Carolinas, knocking out power and sending rain, gusty winds and high surf far up the Atlantic seaboard. Although the center of the storm was well to the south, forecasters said it was so large that rain and some wind would be felt in the Northeast. Small craft advisories, meaning strong winds and choppy seas, were issued from Savannah, Ga., to Maine.

"Much of the winds have diminished," said meteorologist Dave Loewenthal at the National Weather Service in Wilmington. "It's a very large system. It goes all up and down the eastern seaboard."

Loewenthal said the system's center would "continue west throughout the day and then make a more northerly track along the Appalachians. You can have a lot of rain on the east side of the mountains, but it shouldn't be too much of a problem."

The storm was expected to continue bringing coastal flooding, rip currents and high surf to the mid-Atlantic shore over the weekend.

Forecasters turned their attention to Tropical Storm Kyle in the open Atlantic, south of Bermuda. The National Hurricane Center said Kyle could become a hurricane by Saturday as it moved north.

At 11 a.m., Kyle was located about 475 miles south-southwest of Bermuda and moving north-northwest near 13 mph with top sustained winds near 60 mph. Tropical storm force winds extended out from the center up to 160 miles, mainly east of the center.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Bermuda.

In the Carolinas, the storm knocked out power to about 3,400 utility customers but few serious problems were reported.

A dozen houses were condemned in the Outer Banks town of Nags Head when waves exposed septic tanks, WRAL-TV reported. Officials said wind-driven tides flooded NC Highway 12 at times on Hatteras Island.

Forecasters said the storm lacked the ingredients of a tropical system, but had looked enough like one that the National Hurricane Center sent aircraft into it several times to explore.

"This was very close to a tropical system," said Brandon Vincent of the National Weather Service office in Raleigh. "Before it came inland, it had a pretty impressive radar impression that was reminiscent of a tropical storm."

By 9 a.m. Friday, the storm center was about 70 miles inland from Myrtle Beach, S.C., near the North Carolina border and had weakened, said Brandon Vincent of the National Weather Service office in Raleigh.

Vincent said the storm would bring up to 2 inches of rain to some parts of the Carolinas after setting a daily record of 4.16 inches in Wilmington on Thursday. Winds would gust up to 30 mph in the western Piedmont area before dying out in the afternoon.

"We'll see some breezy conditions," he said. "No big deal, just a little breezy."