Bertha to Impact Bahamas, Bring Rough Surf to US

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
August 3, 2014; 7:46 AM ET
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While the center of Bertha will bypass the United States after impacting the Turks and Caicos and Bahamas, resultant rough surf will not.

Locally heavy rain and gusty winds accompanying Bertha will continue to shift from the Dominican Republic to the southeastern Bahamas as the weekend comes to a close.

"Such impacts from Bertha this weekend will last no more than 12 to 18 hours in a particular location," stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Rob Miller.

Rain amounts will generally be on the order of 2 to 4 inches across the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas. Surf will also be rough around these islands.

Bertha is also kicking up winds strong enough to cause some damage to structures and sporadic power outages.

Minimal impact is forecast farther west on Hispaniola for Haiti, but there can be a couple of locally heavy thunderstorms.

No impact is forecast farther west in the Caribbean, such as Jamaica and central Cuba.

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Beyond the Bahamas, Bertha is forecast to curve more to the north then to the northeast. This projected path will keep direct impacts offshore of the U.S.

The surf can become rough from northeastern Florida to North Carolina for a time early in the week. The greatest risk to bathers will be an uptick in the strength and number of rip currents.

As Bertha interacts with a front pushing off the east coast of the U.S. at midweek, some rain could reach Bermuda.

Low Hurricane Count for June, July Not Uncommon

The relatively quiet Atlantic tropical season so far in 2014 is not that uncommon. Although the season officially begins on June 1, the most active period does not really get going until mid-August. It is during August and early September, when the waters across the Atlantic are the warmest, and typically, the dry air and wind shear taper off.

Stef Davis and Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno explain the ebb and flow of the hurricane season in the video below:

AccuWeather is forecasting a slightly below-average number of tropical storms and hurricanes this season in the Atlantic.

What is Affecting Bertha?

"The system is being steered by the Bermuda-Azores high pressure area," AccuWeather.com Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

Wind shear has been impacting Bertha, preventing thunderstorms from wrapping uniformly around the center of circulation. Wind shear is a zone of strong winds at mid-levels of the atmosphere blowing from the southwest, west or northwest that can prevent a tropical system from forming or limit the intensity of a formed tropical system.

The mountainous terrain of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola also prevented Bertha from strengthening this weekend.

Since Bertha survived the trip near these islands, it could strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane while off the East Coast of the U.S. by midweek.

The system battled and survived wind shear, cool water and dry air over the southern Atlantic earlier in the week.

AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski contributed to the content of this story.

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