07 July 2008

Bertha now a strong Category 1 hurricane...

During the long holiday weekend, Bertha made some big jumps in organization, despite some cooler ocean temperatures and some dry air trying to wrap around the circulation.  Earlier this morning (Monday), an eye formed and has remained open since then.  The storm is now in a very favorable environment, and Bertha is forecast to continue intensifying.  At 15Z today, the intensity estimate is 80kts and 975mb, nearly a CAT2 storm.  It's still heading WNW at 13kts, basically identical to what it was 4 days ago.  Location is 19.6N 51.3W, far away from any land.

Given the environment, it's likely that Bertha will become a CAT2 storm within a day, and perhaps even reach 100kts and make CAT3 status (that's a remote possibility).  Large-scale steering flow is still WNW, but will become more NW by the middle of the week as the storm skirts around the subtropical High.  Bermuda is under the gun by the end of the week, and should be watching this very closely.  Right around this time however, Bertha could interact with a mid-latitude trough, which complicates the track and intensity forecast.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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