Beryl moves away from Ga. coast leaving little damage


JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. - Beryl has moved on from the Georgia coast, but the storm's winds continue to wreak havoc on holiday plans.

The winds have slowly begun dying down on the Barrier Islands.

But authorities are still warning everyone to stay out of the water. Channel 2's Tony Thomas found most people have complied, but not everyone.

For most, the big waves signal danger but not for Sam Ballard. He heads about 50 yards off shore.

"How was it out there?" Thomas asked.

"Beautiful, the water is nice," Ballard said.

The heart of Tropical Storm Beryl stayed about a 100 miles south of the Barrier Islands, but her winds churned up the ocean all along the Georgia coast, leaving behind dangerous rip tides.

Those winds were making it tough not only on vacationers, but pelicans too, flying sideways just to make any progress.

There is very little damage to report on the islands. The local economy likely taking the biggest hit on what is normally a big weekend.

Some tourists did venture out.

The Holte family from Athens played carefully, only going in ankle deep water after watching a woman almost get swept away on Sunday.

"She ran out there got out to her head, next thing her husband is dragging her out. Luckily she was OK," Daniel Holte said.

Ballard said he plans to venture out again.

"I have swam in a lot worse. I just enjoy swimming in the surf, that's all," Ballard said.

On Tybee Island, authorities said they rescued more than 50 people over the weekend from the rough waters.

Aside from ruining holiday plans, the rain was welcome on the Georgia coast for bringing some relief from persistent drought. According to the state climatologist's office, as of May 1, rainfall in Savannah was 15 inches below normal for the past 12 months.

Emergency officials said minor flooding was reported near the coast, but the ground was quickly soaking up the water. And the winds had died down considerably.

Beryl was expected to bring 4 to 8 inches of rain to parts, with some areas getting as much as a foot. Forecasters said the storm surge and high tide could bring 2 to 4 feet of flooding in northeastern Florida and Georgia, and 1 to 2 feet in southern South Carolina.