Grey skies, strong winds, heavy surf, and the threat of worsening conditions are disrupting Memorial Day vacation plans for travelers in the North Florida/South Georgia area.
St. Augustine Beach, just south of Tropical Storm Beryl’s projected path, is devoid of vacationers. Sand is whipping across the beach on winds that are projected to reach 50 mph close to midnight tonight, stinging the eyes and skin of any beachgoer than tries to brave the conditions. Memorial Day services set for Monday have been cancelled by the city.
Closer to the track of the storm, city officials in Jacksonville are warning residents away from the beach. Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown has also cancelled Memorial Day ceremonies that were planned for Monday. The Mayor is also asking businesses to close early to help encourage residents to stay indoors and to allow employees to prepare for the storm. Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) is open at the time this story is being published, but airport management is reporting that airlines are cancelling some flights and are advising travelers to check with airlines.
Cumberland Island National Seashore, on the South East coast of Georgia, has ordered campers and day-visitors out of the park. The national park is located on a barrier island that is only accessible by ferry. The last one departed the island at 4:45 pm this afternoon.
Of course, businesses up and down the coast, from hotels to retail stores, look to suffer from this storm. Memorial Day not only promises an influx of travelers to tourist destinations in the area that Beryl is targeting, but also customers eager to hit up stores for the Memorial Day sales.