Stronger 'Bertha' unlikely to make landfall in US
PROVIDENCIALES, (AP):A strengthened Tropical Storm 'Bertha' swirled northward across open sea early yesterday after brushing the Turks & Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas, while forecasters predicted the storm likely won't make landfall as it passes along the US East Coast.
The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm also was likely to miss the mid-Atlantic British territory of Bermuda while beginning to curve north-northeastward and stay out in the Atlantic.
The storm buffeted parts of The Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos with rain and gusty winds Sunday, after passing over the Dominican Republic and causing temporary evacuation of dozens of families as its downpours raised rivers out of their banks. Earlier, it dumped rain on Puerto Rico, which has been parched by unusually dry weather.
The storm's maximum sustained winds strengthened to 70 mph (110 kph) early yesterday and the US hurricane center said Bertha was forecast to become a hurricane later in the day. Bertha was centred about 220 miles (350 kilometres) east of Great Abaco Island, with tropical storm force winds extending outward up to 160 miles (260 kilometres). It was moving north at about 16 mph (26 kph).