Tropical Storm Beryl could snarl holiday traffic

Tropical Storm Beryl after making landfall near near Jacksonville Beach, Fla., early Monday, May 28, 2012. CIMSS

Last Updated 8:42 a.m. ET

(CBS/AP) Tropical Storm Beryl threatened to snarl traffic on Memorial Day as it brought drenching rain, winds and the possibility of flooding to the southeastern U.S. coast.

The storm made landfall in Florida early Monday near Jacksonville Beach around 12:10 a.m. with near-hurricane-strength winds of 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Beryl makes landfall

The weather system was expected to continue dumping rain over parts of Florida and Georgia on Monday. It was forecast to weaken as it moves inland Monday and Tuesday, and as a frontal system comes down from the Great Lakes, Beryl was expected to move out into the Atlantic Ocean.

The city of Jacksonville reports there were power outages to 37,000 customers overnight. That number now stands at 24,000.

(Watch David Bernard's weather forecast in the video below.)

But the weather system could complicate holiday traffic Monday after wrecking some Memorial Day weekend plans Sunday. It caused shoreline campers to pack up and head inland and led to the cancellation of some events.

Campers at Cumberland Island, Ga., which is reachable only by boat, were told to leave by 4:45 p.m. Sunday. The island has a number of undeveloped beaches and forests popular with campers.

However, many people seemed determined to make the best of the soggy forecast Sunday.

In Georgia, at Greyfield Inn, a 19th-century mansion and the only private inn on Cumberland Island, the rooms were nearly full Sunday and everyone was planning to stay put through the wet weather, said Dawn Drake, who answered the phone at the inn's office on the Florida coast.

In Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday's jazz festival and Memorial Day ceremony were canceled. Workers were also out clearing tree limbs and debris that could be tossed about by the storm's winds. Winds had already knocked down tree limbs and power lines in parts of coastal Georgia, leaving hundreds without electricity.

Five thousand homes have experienced power outages in Flagler County, Fla., according to Kala Rama of CBS Orlando affiliate WKMG-TV. The Flagler beach and pier are also closed.

CBS News hurricane consultant David Bernard reports some of the strongest bands of rain were over the Jacksonville area and reaching as far north as Savannah, Ga.

With winds moving west at 8 mph, it's not moving inland very quickly. Bernard reports the main threat going forward for the next 24-36 hours will be excessive rain. But that could be good news. "There's been an extreme drought in S.C., south Georgia and north Florida," Bernard said. "We could see widespread 5-10 inch rains well inland."

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