Storm Bertha Will Lash Caribbean on Track Into Atlantic

Tropical Storm Bertha will lash parts of the Caribbean with rain and gusty winds on a path that curves away from the U.S. East Coast.

Bertha may drop as much as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain on Puerto Rico, the Leeward Islands and the Virgin Islands, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Storm watches and warnings were posted for Puerto Rico, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Martinique, Vieques, Culebra, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands.

“The storm is expected to remain tropical-storm strength or weaker at times, especially when it interacts with islands later this weekend, before re-curving north and east into the open Atlantic, staying well east of the U.S./Canadian coast,” Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, said in an e-mail. “A cool troughing pattern in the eastern U.S. is helping to steer the system back out to sea.”

Bertha was 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Fort de France, Martinique, at 5 p.m. East Coast time, moving west-northwest with top sustained winds of 50 mph, the center said in an advisory. No strengthening was forecast for 48 hours.

The center’s tracking map shows the storm crossing Puerto Rico tomorrow, then curving northeast after passing the Bahamas the next day. It is forecast to move up the Atlantic between the U.S. and Bermuda.

The first storm of the season, Arthur, became a Category 2 hurricane that struck North Carolina’s Outer Banks on the Independence Day weekend before making its final landfall in Canada.

The center is also monitoring Tropical Storm Iselle, in the eastern Pacific more than 1,200 miles west of Mexico.

“Iselle is close to hurricane strength and could affect Hawaii late next week” as a weakening storm, Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan, wrote on his blog.

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