Storm Storm Bertha Forms Near South Carolina

Tropical Storm Bertha formed quickly near the coast of South Carolina on Wednesday morning.  At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Bertha was located at latitude 32.7°N and longitude 79.4°W which put it about 30 miles (50 km) east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina.  Bertha was moving toward the northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1009 mb.

The National Hurricane Center issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the portion of the coast from Edisto Beach to South Santee River, South Carolina.

The circulation around a low pressure system off the southeast coast of the U.S. organized quickly on Wednesday morning.  A distinct center of circulation was evident on radar.  Radar and satellite images also showed bands of showers and thunderstorms revolving around the center of circulation.  NOAA buoy 41004 southeast of Charleston, South Carolina measured a sustained wind speed of 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and a gust to 58 m.p.h. (94 km/h).  Based on all of that information the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Tropical Storm Bertha.

Tropical Storm Bertha will move around the western end of a high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Bertha toward the north during the next 24 hours.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Bertha will make landfall on the coast of South Carolina east of Charleston later on Wednesday.  Bertha will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 24°C.  It will move under the western side of an upper level ridge over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The ridge will produce southerly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause moderate vertical wind shear.  Based on recent trends Tropical Storm Bertha could strengthen before it makes landfall.  Bertha will drop heavy rain over eastern South Carolina and eastern North Carolina.  The heavy rain could cause floods in some locations.  Waves will cause erosion along the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina.