What to brace for at the beaches this weekend: Crowds? Jellyfish? 'Subtropical' Storm Beryl?
One will be a problem. One might be a problem. One won't be a problem.
The subtropical storm started blowing gale force winds Friday in the Atlantic, and the Charleston area was put under a tropical storm watch.
Computer models' forecast tracks looked like spaghetti; the one thing each of them suggested is that the storm, Beryl, will mess with the coast.
“This is a hard one to read. We are going to watch it,” said Cathy Haynes, Charleston County Emergency Management Department operations chief.
The National Weather Service's “watch” means tropical storm conditions are possible, with a chance of several inches of rain. Here's the forecast:
Today: Highs in mid-80s. Windy and gusty, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Heightening risk of rip currents.
Sunday: Highs in the lower 80s. Dangerous conditions possible, with showers and thunderstorms likely. Windier and gustier, with rip currents.
Monday: It depends on what the storm does, Charleston NWS meteorologist Blair Holloway said. Windy and a chance of rain.
Huge, if the weather stays nice. It's the first beach holiday of the summer. Popular beach spots already were crowding up Friday. “Come early and get a parking spot locked in,” said Cole Thomas, Isle of Palms county park assistant manager. “Pack for the day, because if you leave and come back, you're not going to find a parking space.”
Had you worried, didn't we? Nope, stinging jellies aren't much of a problem so far this year.
A top-10 beach
The soft sands of one of the nation's “best” beaches waits just down the road.
Beachwalker Park, the Charleston County public access strand on gated Kiawah Island, is the ninth-best beach in America for 2012, says Dr. Beach, the Florida International University professor who's made an industry out his annual Top 10 rankings.
The doctor, Steven Leatherman, tends to turn a nose up on South Carolina beaches because of murky ocean waters, but the Kiawah beach routinely makes his top 10. In 2011, Beachwalker was ranked seventh.
Sure, the list neglects the Folly (Beach) frolic, the swarm of skin at the Isle of Palms or the sedate history of Sullivan's Island — not to mention the $8 fee for Beachwalker.
But it's Memorial Day at the beach, man. Kick back.