Subtropical Storm Beryl can be seen making its way towards the drought affected southeastern US on 27th May 2012 [AFP]

We may still be four days away from the start of the Atlantic hurricane season but we are already awaiting the arrival of the second named storm so far. Just last week, Tropical Storm Alberto developed off the coast of South Carolina before easing away and dissipating over the North Atlantic.

Now we have the arrival of Subtropical Storm Beryl in a similar region. This is first time since 1908 that two tropical storms have formed this early in the year.

Beryl formed late on Friday and currently lies just to the southeast of Charleston. Unlike Alberto, this system is actually moving towards the coast and we do expect it to make landfall overnight Sunday into Monday.

The storm is not likely to change much in strength before crossing the coast. The sustained winds around the storm are around 85 kph with significantly higher gusts, but it is the rain that will be of greater significance.

Some parts along the coast, from northern Florida to the southeast of North Carolina are likely to receive well over 150mm of rain over the next 24 to 48 hours. This will inevitably but a dampener on Memorial Day plans for thousands of American beach-goers this holiday weekend.

Subtropical storms have cooler air at any given level in the atmosphere than tropical storms. As a result, they do tend to have more thunderstorm activity going on further away from the storm centre. Similarly, the strongest winds may also arrive well ahead of the centre of the storm too.

On a brighter note, a large swathe of the southeastern US are still suffering from extreme or even exceptional drought. Beryl will deliver some much needed rainfall here, and I dare say that they would benefit from a good deal more thereafter.

Source: Al Jazeera