Image: Clean-up crew
Brad Mcclenny  /  AP
A crew from the Florida Department of Transportation works to clean up the debris of a tree that fell and damaged the home of Geneva Sercey in Gainesville, Fla., in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Beryl on Monday.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 5/29/2012 4:58:28 PM ET 2012-05-29T20:58:28

Slow-moving Tropical Depression Beryl dumped more rain on parts of the Southeast coast on Tuesday, a day after drenching areas and claiming the life of an 18-year-old who was swallowed up by a rogue wave.

Beryl is also expected to build up strength and "could regain tropical storm status" on Wednesday as it approaches South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center stated.

The body of Ritchy Dauphin washed ashore Tuesday morning, about 12 hours after he went missing in violent surf near Daytona Beach, Fla., NBC affiliate WESH-TV reported. Dauphin and a friend had ignored the rip tides and high surf.

"They were pretty far away," Tacorey Williams, one of Dauphin's friends, told WESH. "I don’t know how many feet, but they were above waist."

"He tried to help," she said of the friend with Dauphin, "but the wave pushed him (Dauphin) farther" out.

Beryl left little property damage after making landfall with 70 mph winds around midnight Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla.

But 20,000 customers remained without electricity in the city Monday evening.

Moreover, Beryl dumped 10 inches of rain in Sewanee County, Fla., while nearby areas wound up with 3 to 6 inches.

Some areas could see 15 inches of rain by the time Beryl moves out.

Beryl, which weakened to a tropical depression, had maximum sustained winds near 30 mph as it moved northeast along the coast.

A frontal system moving south from the Great Lakes is expected to cause the storm do a U-turn and push it back out to sea later in the week.

The Atlantic's six-month storm season officially begins Friday, but the season got off to an early start with Tropical Storm Alberto forming earlier this month off the coast of South Carolina.

Jacksonville, because of its location on an inward curve in the Florida coast, rarely takes a direct hit from a tropical storm or hurricane.

"I hope this is not a sign of things to come," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. "Normally the hurricanes are forming out in the Atlantic and as they come toward the coast of the United States, the Gulfstream has a tendency to turn them north."

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. Winds had died down considerably.

"We've needed it for a long time," said Ray Parker, emergency management director for coastal McIntosh County south of Savannah, who said the worst damage came by trees falling on two homes overnight. "Most of it soaked right in before it had a chance to run off. It fell on an empty sponge."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Beryl brings rain and wind damage

  1. Closed captioning of: Beryl brings rain and wind damage

    >> those strong storms battering the eastern half of the country. al is joining us from upstairs with details. good morning.

    >> all right, guys, thank you so much. of course it's now tropical depression beryl. but it is a storm that's still causing a lot of problems. some areas have picked up 14 inches of rain. we're looking right now at saint simon 's island, georgia , where you can see how angry the seas are. a lot of flooding, a lot of big problems, riptides, rip currents . in fact, one swimmer was killed off the coast of florida today . and then as we move a little further north into georgia , you can see more wind damage. power outages. in fact, some areas in georgia close to 3,000 to 5,000 people without power, uprooted trees, power lines knocked down. here's the latest on where we stand with beryl. right now ten miles northwest of valdosta, georgia . 30-mile-per-hour winds moving north at 2 miles per hour. slow mover. generating a lot of rain. rainfall amounts, you can see from jacksonville all the way up to cape hatteras , as many as -- as much as 7 to 9 inches of rain. so there are flood warnings in effect throughout much of the southeast. beyond that, we've got severe weather to worry about. there's those beryl right off the coast. by thursday morning. now to the severe weather . from wichita to wichita falls , and then in the northeast, including new england, we've got a risk of strong storms and tornadoes. tomorrow stronger risk in the midsection of the country. this is a strong risk in oklahoma. we will most likely see tornadoes in this area tomorrow. we'll continue to track it. and we've got record setting heat in the south. we'll talk about that coming up in the next ten minutes. ann?

    >> all right. we should probably remind people to pay attention to their local forecast, as well. al, thank you so much.

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