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Beryl still packs a punch as it breaks up off North Carolina

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 6:17 PM EDT, Wed May 30, 2012
  • NEW: No-longer-tropical storm Beryl spawns a North Carolina tornado
  • NEW: Dozens of homes are damaged but no one is hurt, authorities say
  • The system swept through Charleston, South Carolina, early Wednesday,

(CNN) -- The former Tropical Storm Beryl broke up over the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Wednesday, but its remnants spawned a tornado that smashed dozens of homes, forecasters said.

The storm had lost all tropical characteristics by Wednesday afternoon, two days after hitting land in northeastern Florida, the National Hurricane Center reported. But it still packed gale-force winds, raised dangerous surf and dumped several inches of rain onto coastal North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down in western Carteret County in North Carolina, at the southern end of the barrier islands, earlier Wednesday NWS meteorologist Casey Dail told CNN. Jo Ann Smith, the county's emergency services director, said there were no injuries, but four homes were destroyed and 64 were damaged.

Track Beryl's progress

Beryl came ashore early Monday with 70 mph winds near Jacksonville Beach, Florida. It weakened to a tropical depression after making landfall, and blew northward through Georgia and South Carolina before breaking up entirely.

The system swept through Charleston, South Carolina, early Wednesday, leaving more than 1,000 people without power in several areas and spawning at least one tornado warning in an outlying county, according to CNN affiliate WCIV.

In the suburb of North Charleston, one family heard a loud noise during the night and found part of a tree had fallen on top of a car parked in the driveway.

"I was scared and shocked," Brittany Gadsden told WCIV. "I tried to climb over the trees to get to my mom's car, and I tried to back it out but I couldn't."

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Beryl claimed the life of a teenager who ventured into the Atlantic Ocean, a Florida beach patrol official said Tuesday. The 18-year-old and a friend were in 5 to 6 feet of water about 6 p.m. Monday when a wave knocked him off his feet and swept him away, Volusia County Beach Patrol Capt. Tammy Marris said.

Volusia County Beach Patrol workers rescued approximately 170 swimmers from the surf over the Memorial Day weekend, Marris said.

But the storm brought some much-needed respite to parched areas of the Southeast. Midway, Florida, about 12 miles west of Tallahassee, had received 12.65 inches of rain from Beryl by Tuesday, the Weather Service said. According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which tracks drought nationwide, areas of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are under drought conditions ranging from "severe" to "exceptional."

CNN's Sean Morris and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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