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Tropical storm hits northeast Florida

Tammy crossing southeast Georgia with 40 mph winds

story.tammy.sat.815p.accu.jpg
Tropical Storm Tammy strikes land in this satellite photo taken Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. ET.

SPECIAL REPORT

(CNN) -- Tropical Storm Tammy came ashore just south of the Georgia-Florida border Wednesday evening, hours after popping up off Florida's northeast coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

As of 11 p.m. ET, the storm had sustained winds of 40 mph and was 40 miles northwest of Jacksonville, Florida, moving northwest across southeast Georgia at 13 mph, forecasters said. It is expected to weaken over the next 24 hours.

Tropical storm-force winds extended out as far as 200 miles from the center, mostly to the north and east over the Atlantic.

Forecasters said it could bring 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 centimeters) of rain to parts of Georgia and the Carolinas, with isolated amounts of up to 10 inches.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Fernandina Beach, Florida, north to the mouth of the South Santee River in South Carolina, but was expected to be lifted early Thursday, forecasters said.

People in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas were also warned to keep an eye out for tornadoes spinning off from the storm.

Tammy's center came ashore with 50 mph winds earlier Wednesday evening near Mayport, north of Jacksonville, the hurricane center reported.

In St. Marys, Georgia, just north of Jacksonville on the state line, a shelter capable of holding 300 people was on standby, said Camden County Emergency Management Director Mark Crews.

Florida state meteorologist Ben Nelson described the storm's formation as a "pretty normal type of situation" for this time of year. (Watch forecast as Tammy threatens to dump rain on the Southeast -- 1:10)

"If you look at the graph of hurricane activity throughout the year, we have our peak in September, but we have a secondary peak in October and that's storms that are generally close to Florida," Nelson said.

Tammy, which formed Wednesday morning, is the 19th named storm of the busy 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and the third tropical storm to hit the U.S. coast, which has also been menaced by four hurricanes this year.

With nearly two months left in the hurricane season, some records for hurricane activity could be ready to fall.

The largest number of tropical storms recorded in a single year was 21 in 1933; the record for hurricanes was 12 in 1969. Ten hurricanes have already formed in the Atlantic this season.

The National Hurricane Center is down to the last two storm names on its list for 2005, Vince and Wilma. If more storms form, the names of the letters of the Greek alphabet will be used to name them, starting with Alpha.

CNN's Chad Myers contributed to this report.

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