MIAMI – The center of Tropical Storm Tammy (search) came ashore in north Florida on Wednesday after skirting the coast and sending heavy rain and gusty winds toward Georgia and the Carolinas.
The storm's center came ashore near Mayport, home to a major naval air station about 15 miles east of Jacksonville. But much of the worst weather remained offshore, the National Hurricane Center (search) said.
At 8 p.m. EDT, the storm had 50 mph winds and was moving northwest at about 14 mph. Tammy was expected to move farther inland.
"We'll probably see most of the brunt of the storm hitting the southeastern coast of Georgia," meteorologist Chris Sisko said. "They'll get some pretty squally weather."
Tammy formed just off Florida's east coast early Wednesday, dropping rain into north Florida and soaking parts of Georgia and South Carolina. As it tracked along the coast, the worst of its weather remained offshore, north and east of its center.
"It does appear that heavy rainfall from Tammy in Florida is not going to unfold," Sisko said.
A tropical storm warning was in effect from Fernandina Beach north to the Santee River in South Carolina, meaning tropical storm conditions were expected in those areas within the next 24 hours. Tropical storm winds extended outward up to 260 miles.
Tammy was expected to dump 3 to 5 inches of rain over southeast Georgia, eastern South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina, with maximum amounts of 8 to 10 inches, the National Hurricane Center said.
The rain will not be entirely unwelcome: Parts of the Carolinas have been suffering from drought.
But at Jacksonville Beach, businesses lamented the approach of another tropical storm. Seven hurricanes have brushed past or hit Florida in the last 14 months, including three this year.
Tourists and business people canceled reservations with the approach of the storm, said Eric Fort, general manager of the Sea Walk Hotel. He estimated business is off 75 percent from this time last year, a triple whammy from the economy, gas prices and fear of the storm.
"It has a lot to do with Katrina," he said. Hurricane Katrina struck south Florida as a Category 1 storm on Aug. 25, four days before it devastated Louisiana and Mississippi as a Category 4.
Tammy is the 19th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season (search), which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30. This season is tied for the second-busiest since record-keeping started in 1851; 19 storms also formed in 1995 and 1887. The record for tropical storms and hurricanes in one year is 21, set in 1933.