Storm Julia dumping heavy rains on Georgia and South Carolina coasts

Tropical Storm Julia and other storms lined up in the Atlantic Tropical Storm Julia and other storms lined up in the Atlantic

(Reuters) – Tropical Storm Julia dumped heavy rains along coastal Georgia and South Carolina on Wednesday, weakening as it drifted north along the U.S. Southeast coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm, centered around southeastern Georgia, had gusting winds as strong as 40 mph (65 kph). Heavy rain and high tides threatened low-lying coastal areas prone to flooding, such as parts of Charleston, South Carolina, forecasters said.

“It’s weakening, but it will still continue to produce heavy rain and that is the main hazard that we are concerned with,” said Bob Bright, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.

Julia, the 10th named storm of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, is expected to weaken to a tropical depression on Wednesday as it moved north at 7 mph, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

At 8 a.m. (1200 GMT), Julia was about 10 miles (16 km) west of Brunswick, Georgia, the hurricane center said.

Northeast Florida felt the storm’s strong blasts and bands of rain after it came ashore late on Tuesday around Cape Canaveral, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service in Jacksonville, Florida, whose coverage area includes southeastern Georgia, had received reports of toppled trees, but not significant structural damage on Wednesday morning, meteorologist Scott Cordero said.

“We had some pretty good winds associated with it,” he said. “She is starting to lose her tropical characteristics, as she is remaining mainly landlocked.”

(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla., Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee, and Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens and James Dalgleish)

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