Hopes for a festival holiday weekend in the Carolinas were dashed Saturday as a tropical depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Bonnie.
Predicted to come ashore Sunday afternoon between Charleston and Beaufort, SC, the storm is expected to stall for a day or two before moving up the coast across the North Carolina Outer Banks and back out into the Atlantic near the Virginia coast by Thursday.
According to the National Hurricane Center, portions of east-central South Carolina could see as much as six inches of rain in the next 72 hours.
As the rain moved in, beach-goers were few and far between but surfers were enjoying the higher waves.
Bonnie is the second tropical storm to form this year before the official beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane Alex formed in January. This is just the fifth time since 1794 that two tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic prior to June 1. Forecasters say unusually warm ocean temperatures are responsible for the early storms. Gulf Stream temperatures in the upper 70's and low 80's, usually not seen until July, have been reported.
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