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Tropical Storm Beryl Headed North

Tropical Storm Beryl headed north Wednesday, with the worst of its rain and wind remaining several miles off the North Carolina coast.

"We got a light wind, a little cloudy," said Howard Rall, the manager of the Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills on the state's Outer Banks. "We've had worse northeasters."

Coastal storm warnings and the threat of the second tropical storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season did little to deter either the natives or the tourists: Golfers hit the links, boats headed out to sea, and early morning fishermen were trying their luck at Rall's pier.

"It's pretty good fishing: Blues, Spanish, some spot and mullet," Rall said.

At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT), Beryl was centered about 105 miles east of Cape Hatteras. It was moving north at 7 mph with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, just over the 39 mph threshold for a named storm and well below hurricane strength of 74 mph.

Beryl could strengthen somewhat over the next 24 hours but isn't likely to grow into a hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm appeared likely to move parallel to the East Coast instead of heading ashore, said Richard Pasch, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Last year's June-November Atlantic hurricane season saw a record 28 named storms and 15 hurricanes, including destructive Katrina.

The first named storm of 2006 season, Tropical Storm Alberto, splashed ashore in Florida in mid-June, then plowed northward along the coast past North Carolina's Outer Banks. It was blamed for one drowning.

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