Tropical Depression Bonnie brings heavy rain to Carolinas

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Tropical Depression Bonnie’s heavy rains are weakening over South Carolina as a wet Memorial Day holiday weekend comes to an end in the area.

The center of the depression was on the coast about 30 miles east of Charleston at 5 a.m. Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm was expected to move slowly northeast into North Carolina through Tuesday.

Maximum sustained winds in Bonnie were 30 mph, but the main concern throughout the holiday weekend has been heavy rains and strong surf.

Bonne dropped about 8 inches of rain in southern South Carolina on Sunday, closing the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 about 20 miles north of the Georgia state line for about 16 hours. The highway finally reopened around 1 a.m. Monday, and troopers reported the 10-mile backups caused by the detour had been cleared.

The only possible death attributed to the storm is a missing swimmer off of Carolina Beach, North Carolina, just south of Wilmington.

Rescuers plan to continue searching Monday for 21-year-old James Cameron of Graham, North Carolina. He disappeared while swimming with two friends Saturday evening in the rough surf. The friends made it back to shore safely, authorities said.

Lifeguards in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina were warning people of dangerous rip currents, which can suddenly pull swimmers out to deep waters. Officials in Myrtle Beach put up the no swimming flags again Monday because conditions were just too rough.

Forecasters said Bonnie appeared to be winding down. No heavy rain was reported in South Carolina on Monday. The storm was predicted to dissipate late Tuesday, but forecasters said that could happen sooner.

The official start to the hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean is Wednesday, even though two storms formed early. Hurricane Alex struck the Azores in the far eastern Atlantic in January.