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Beryl near hurricane strength at landfall

May 27, 2012 at 8:21 PM

MIAMI, May 27 (UPI) -- Tropical Storm Beryl neared hurricane strength ahead of its expected landfall Sunday night on the Southeast Coast of the United States, U.S. forecasters said.

Tropical storm conditions had reached the coast with Beryl 75 east of Jacksonville, Fla., the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 p.m. advisory. The storm was packing 70 mph winds with higher gusts and was moving west at 10 mph. The storm is expected to turn north after landfall.

Dangerous surf conditions, including rip currents, are expected along the coast from northeastern Florida to North Carolina over the remainder of the Memorial Day weekend.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from the Volusia/Brevard County line in Florida to Edisto Beach in South Carolina.

The NWS said some slight strengthening of the storm was possible before landfall, and a steady weakening once it's on land. Beryl was expected to downgrade to a tropical depression by Monday night.

Those near the beach should be aware of a storm surge, the NWS said, and normally dry areas near the coast could be flooded.

Beryl is the second named storm of the hurricane season.

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