Danny weakens to a tropical depression, heavy rains continue

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Tropical Storm Danny weakened to a tropical depression hours after it made landfall Monday evening on South Carolina’s coast but the system continued to dump heavy rains on the state and portions of Georgia.

At 11 p.m. Danny had top sustained winds of 35 mph (56 kph) and was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west-northwest of Beaufort, South Carolina, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The system was moving to the west-northwest at 16 mph (26 kph). It added that continued weakening is forecast, and Danny is expected to dissipate on Tuesday.

The fourth named storm of this Atlantic hurricane season formed close to South Carolina’s coast during the afternoon Monday. Forecasters said it could be a rainmaker as far inland as the north Georgia Piedmont area and in northeast Alabama.

Dangerous surf conditions also were expected along parts of the Southeast seacoast, along with a threat of isolated tornadoes near the coast.

Tropical storm force winds were already recorded Monday afternoon in some spots in South Carolina just hours after Danny formed. A weather station at Folly Beach — just outside Charleston — recorded a wind gust of 41 mph (66 kph) during the day, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

A tropical storm warning was posted earlier Monday from Edisto Beach to South Santee River in South Carolina. All warnings were discontinued Monday night.

Still, the depression could produce between 1 and 3 inches (3 to 8 centimeters) of rain with higher amounts in some coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina. Forecasters said heavier rainfall could occur in some scattered spots but the region has been dry, limiting the potential threat of any widespread flooding.

Still, forecasters warned that some local flooding remained a possibility in urban areas along the coast and up to 1 to 2 inches of rain were possible elsewhere around South Carolina and in north Georgia and northeast Alabama.

Some brushed off the storm’s potential impact.

In Savannah, Georgia, all systems were go for Tuesday night’s Savannah Bananas home baseball game as organizers eyed the storm. Officials for the collegiate summer league team planned to cover the field with tarp on Monday in preparation for the game.

“For us, being on the coast and being in Savannah, we get some nasty pop-up storms that can dump an inch of rain in just a few hours,” Bananas President Jared Orton said Monday. “This one doesn’t look like much more than just a nice, passing day of rain. I think we’re good to go as long as the sun comes out tomorrow.”

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