Tropical Storm Bonnie loses steam after dousing the Carolinas

Tropical stormChris Hondros/Getty Images

(Reuters) – Tropical Depression Bonnie dissipated on Monday after drenching the Carolinas and Virginia with rain and whipping up strong winds that ruined the holiday weekend plans of many beachgoers.

Forecasters said they expected the storm to produce 1 to 3 inches of additional rainfall across eastern South Carolina, eastern North Carolina, and southeast Virginia, with isolated showers, the National Hurricane Center said.

Bonnie came ashore just northeast of Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday morning, bringing heavy rains, minor flooding and sustained winds of about 30 miles per hour (48 kph).

The system, the first tropical storm to reach the United States this year, dumped as many as 8 inches (20 cm) of rain in parts of South Carolina and Georgia, and caused flooding in low-lying areas and closing roads. 

Highway officials reopened the southbound and northbound lanes of Interstate 95 in southern South Carolina.

Gelogis

Bonnie fueled some strong winds between 20 and 25 miles per hour and will likely produce dangerous surf and rip currents along the U.S. Southeast coast.

“We still have some potential for heavy rainfall,” said Carl Barnes, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Charleston. “The worse of it has passed.”

Rescuers in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, continued their search for missing swimmer James Cameron, 21, of Graham, North Carolina. Police and U.S. Coast Guard teams were searching the area, authorities said.

Bonnie put a damper on local businesses that are usually busy during the Memorial Day weekend, when swimmers and surfers flock to beaches, said Tyler Switzer, the owner of a rental shop in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. 

Customer traffic and sales were down from previous Memorial Day weekends, he said, attributing the drop to early weather reports that called attention to the storm.

As of Monday afternoon, temperatures were in the 80s (high 20s Celsius) and skies were clear. But most of the beach traffic was gone and those who waited out the storm opted to flood restaurants than purchase beach rentals, he said.

“I think most people were tired of guessing what the weather would do,” he said.

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and David Gregorio)

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