Bertha becomes the season's first hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:39 PM GMT on July 07, 2008

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The 2008 hurricane season's first hurricane is here--Hurricane Bertha. Bertha is the earliest forming July hurricane since Hurricane Cindy (July 6, 2005) and Hurricane Dennis (July 7, 2005). Bertha took advantage of warmer Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) of 27°C and modest wind shear of 10-15 knots to put on a burst of intensification to hurricane strength overnight. The storm has continued to intensify since the 5 am EDT NHC advisory, with some satellite estimates giving Bertha 90 mph winds--just below the threshold of Category 2 status. Visible satellite loops show a well-formed eye with excellent upper-level outflow to the north. The Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to make their first visit to Bertha on Tuesday afternoon to get a better idea of the storm's true strength.


Figure 1. Bertha at 7:45am EDT Monday July 7, 2008.

The intensity forecast
SSTs will continue to warm to 28°C Tuesday morning underneath Bertha, but wind shear is expected to increase some, to 15-20 knots. Bertha should intensify into a Category 2 hurricane today. Higher wind shear should halt intensification on Tuesday. Wind shear is expected to stay in the 15-25 knot range for the remainder of the week, and it is unlikely that Bertha can intensify beyond Category 3 status. The GFDL predicts Bertha will peak at Category 2 status, and the HWRF takes it to Category 3 strength (941 mb) five days from now.

The track forecast
Bertha will start to slow down over the next few days as it "feels" the approach of a trough of low pressure scheduled to move off the U.S. East Coast on Thursday. This trough will force Bertha on a more northwesterly track towards Bermuda, and most of the computer models foresee that Bertha will pass close to Bermuda 5-7 days from now. The exception is the GFS model, which predicts that Thursday's trough of low pressure will not be strong enough to recurve Bertha so far to the north. The GFS keeps Bertha farther south, bringing the storm on a track to pass close to the Carolinas early next week. So far, the GFS has been the most reliable model (Figure 2) tracking Bertha. However, the current run of the GFS depicts a considerably weaker storm than Bertha has become, and its track for Bertha will likely be too far south. A stronger Bertha will "feel" the upper-level westerly winds of the approaching trough more strongly than the GFS is indicating. In short, the best forecast is to assume Bertha will recurve to the north and pass close to Bermuda by the end of the week. Whether or not this trough will be strong enough to fully recurve Bertha northeastward into the hurricane graveyard of the North Atlantic is uncertain at this time.


Figure 2. Animated .gif showing the official NHC forecast every 12 hours (gray line) along with the actual track Bertha took (black line) and the forecasts from several of the computer models. The GFS model has had the best overall performance of the models. The NOGAPS and HWRF model tracks are not shown here, but did not do as well as the GFS.

Elsewhere in the tropics
There are no threat areas to discuss in the tropical Atlantic, and none of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.

I'll post an update Tuesday morning.
Jeff Masters

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2449. CaribbeanDude
5:32 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Hello all! First time back this season, glad to see some familiar faces. Some may remember me as the St. Kitts guy, posting on and off over the last few seasons. Well, I'm located in Virginia for the time being...but still with my eyes focused on the tropical waters.

Bertha's pretty interesting, eh? I think she may drop to a TS in strength, then regroup...to a 1 or 2 by the end of it. Should be interesting to see if she effects the British Open. That could be alot of fun. Ironic that many players have BIG BERTHA clubs!!! (Sorry- I couldn't help myself)

Anyway.. nice too see y'all... should be an interesting season!
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2447. HurrikanEB
2:18 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Quoting 2445. Kibkaos:
JRRP Where are we going to see an invest next week?


i think that someone mentioned alittle earlier that one of the modles (GFS?) had a weak something developing east of the windward islands and heading into the caribbean. Im not sure though, just what i seem to recall someone mentioning
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2446. Kibkaos
1:58 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
JRRP Where are we going to see an invest next week?
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2445. IKE
1:56 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
2444. JRRP
1:55 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
at least we will see an INVEST next week
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2443. TampaSpin
1:50 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Jul 14-20 is the British Open, Bertha could have some drives going 100yards,,,,,,LMAO
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2442. HurrikanEB
1:49 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Quoting 2440. jphurricane2006:
EB I answered your question on my blog


thanks jp
Member Since: May 2, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 1336
2440. HurrikanEB
1:43 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
2435. cchsweatherman 1:32 PM GMT on July 08, 2008


easy come, easy go

good morning cchsweatherman

if she does keep weakening, but doesnt go *poof* won't her chances of moving back west increase. Im not looking for anytype of landfall, just wondering.
Member Since: May 2, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 1336
2438. NEwxguy
1:39 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Whatever Bertha does the next 24hrs,she's moving into a very hostile environment.A ULL to the nw of her,another ull in the northatlantic,a ull moving off the coast of the carolinas,we in new england have a front moving through and off the coast tomorrow night,Bertha is going to be in WWF smackdown.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 878 Comments: 15739
2437. cchsweatherman
1:38 PM GMT on July 08, 2008


Bertha has indeed significantly weakened. The eye has collapsed and the center appears to be on the edge of the CDO. It looks like a Category 1 hurricane right now.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
2435. cchsweatherman
1:32 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Good morning all! It appears that Bertha has significantly weakened overnight as the eye has completely collapsed due to higher wind shear. It appears that dry air arround the storm is taking advantage and eating at the storm. I'm expecting strong Cat. 1 hurricane by days end.

If Bertha significantly weakens, we may see a more westerly component to its track. It should start to move more west soon.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
2434. weathermanwannabe
1:30 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
2418. kmanislander 9:07 AM EDT on July 08, 2008 "Eagle Eyes" strikes again; actually this "global" view someone posted a few days ago (if this link will work) shows that area and there seems to be some convection associated with it as well....Something to keep an "eye" on perhaps.....

http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski/SAT_NHEM/atlanim8ir.html
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2433. Tazmanian
1:29 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
off to work
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115095
2432. stoormfury
1:28 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
well it looks like this year will not be an easy one after all.. An early july major hurricane the looks of another strong system off the african coast and the line up of tropical waves over the african continent.definitely potends to a very active season. the early cape verde season is also a precursor of what to expect.
with bERTHA presumably out of the way , attention must be focused to the distubance off the african coast. it is a large area of disturbed weather with a 1012mb weak near 10n low which is moving at 15 mph. conditions in the vicinity of the system is very conducive for deveopment. and these conditions continue way across the atl to the islands. the gfs and the ukmet develop this system close to the islands in about seven days time. this system which i believe will be the next name storm should be watched and cloely monitored
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2431. Tazmanian
1:27 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
thanks
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2430. Nolehead
1:27 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
taz, i asked about that yesterday (93L) your talking about the 1 in the carribean right?? the 1 that was going through all the shear...someone told me it went into S America?? which to me didn't make any sence...but i just let it go..
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2429. TampaSpin
1:25 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
2426. Tazmanian 9:18 AM EDT on July 08, 2008
by the way where did Ex 93L end up going??


South America

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2428. TampaSpin
1:24 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Just finished my blog update......if anyone would like to view

TampaSpin Blog
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2427. Thundercloud01221991
1:21 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
2423. Tazmanian 1:14 PM GMT on July 08, 2008 Hide this comment.

Quoting 2415. HurrikanEB:
Gee, Taz
115 for you and basically the same for Bertha's winds =)
Id melt in that heat




yup
Action: Quote | Ignore User


what is your low let me guess like 90
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2426. Tazmanian
1:18 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
by the way where did Ex 93L end up going??
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2425. kmanislander
1:17 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Well I am off to work. Will check in later. Have a great day everyone.
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2424. kmanislander
1:17 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
2421. jamnkats

good morning to you too

Not too sure how the turtles are doing these days. Have not heard much about them lately. We do have a breeding and release programme at our turtle farm but the farm is, shall we say, financially challenged at this time !
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2423. Tazmanian
1:14 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Quoting 2415. HurrikanEB:
Gee, Taz
115 for you and basically the same for Bertha's winds =)
Id melt in that heat



yup
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2422. CaneAddict
1:12 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Quoting 2387. IKE:
Quoting 2376. JFV:
Hmmm, I wonder whether Dr. Master will say this statement once again when he updates his blog later on this morning???

Elsewhere in the tropics

There are no threat areas to discuss in the tropical Atlantic, and none of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.


Probably....

GFS has some company though........

Link


After the amazing accuracy of the GFS model from this point on this season when it shows development I believe that we should watch for it ESPECIALLY if there is persistance between model runs.
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2421. jamnkats
1:12 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
G'morning Kman! How are your tortugas doing this year? We have more than twice the nests we did last year and now the loggerbacks are starting their nesting season.
2420. kmanislander
1:11 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Hi JP

Yes, it may well be. I was surprised at the strength of the 850 mb vort.
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2418. kmanislander
1:07 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
good morning everyone

I know the focus is still on Bertha but I thought I would mention that the Quikscat pass for this morning shows a weak surface low near 11N 24W.

This matches up well with the 850 mb vorticity which is quite strong in this same area. Perhaps a sleeper to be watched.

No mention of it in the TWD this a.m., probably due to how weak the signature is
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2417. CajunSubbie
1:07 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
jphurricane.. they really don't need a cdo either.. many sheared hurricanes end up not having one for a lil bit :)
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2416. HurrikanEB
1:05 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Gee, Taz
115 for you and basically the same for Bertha's winds =)
Id melt in that heat
Member Since: May 2, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 1336
2415. CajunSubbie
1:05 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
thanks ncforecaster for the great post.
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2414. ncforecaster
1:03 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Hey Lawntonlookers,

Per post #2359...

I have just a minute or so to post, and felt like your post most certainly deserved an adequate explanation. To keep this very short (I wish I had more time to give a very detailed explanation), there is an ULL that has been moving in from the NW of Bertha (now located to the north of Bertha, which is very visible on the WV satellite loops. This has helped create the weakness in the A/B High, and has allowed Bertha to move more NW. It also helps to view the 500mb and 200 mb "vorticity" maps as well when analyzing the ULL you observe on the Satellite loop.

I really gotta go, so I can't give you the detailed synopsis I desire. Simply put, it's always important to look at the visible, Infrared, and I especially like the WV loops to locate the pertinent atmospheric features that will ultimately influence the future track of these storms. Most importantly, I want to wish you and everyone else a great rest of the day.:)

Most sincerely,
Tony
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2411. CajunSubbie
1:01 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
oh it won't be long, tropical storm by 5 today? :)
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2410. TayTay
12:59 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Dry air is getting sucked into the system.
2408. Tazmanian
12:56 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Quoting 2394. JFV:
WOW, you can see a very strong ridge directly to the north of the system, might that keep this one on a more westerly course? Good morning Taz!



Good morning evere one 115 for my high today

yes that could keep it W
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2406. TayTay
12:55 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Bertha looks like a cat. 1 again.
2405. BahaHurican
12:54 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
2400. CajunSubbie 8:47 AM EDT on July 08, 2008

Nobody's impressed by the loss of conformation. NHC forecast this 2-3 days ago minimum. We want to see what happens AFTER Bertha gets through this area of increased shear.

This is the "box of doom" area, as seen in previous seasons, and the cause is usually high shear. Last year's Hurricane Karen is one of the better recent examples; the very vigorous circulation just couldn't regroup after passing through this shear belt. There is usually a ULL or two set up near the area to buzzsaw anything that makes it that far.

If Bertha is still at hurricane strength, or very high end TS by this time tomorrow a.m., she has a chance to regroup and regain strength, maybe up to cat 2 before it's all over.

Time will tell.
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2404. FLWeatherFreak91
12:51 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Looking at the latest models, I have to say that we should be very wary of the wave currently coming off of Africa. Earlier runs of the GFS forecast this wave to become organized just east of the antilles and continue into the Caribbean. The latest run does not develop the storm as much but still has a weak area moving through next week.
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2403. matt03blueoptima
12:49 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
morning everyone.... so anyone has news about that wavethat was coming off africa?
2402. Bobbyweather
12:48 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
...INITIAL CONDITIONS...
LATCUR = 21.8N LONCUR = 53.5W DIRCUR = 315DEG SPDCUR = 9KT
LATM12 = 20.6N LONM12 = 52.2W DIRM12 = 315DEG SPDM12 = 9KT
LATM24 = 19.4N LONM24 = 50.7W
WNDCUR = 90KT RMAXWD = 15NM WNDM12 = 105KT
CENPRS = 970MB OUTPRS = 1013MB OUTRAD = 200NM SDEPTH = D
RD34NE = 100NM RD34SE = 60NM RD34SW = 40NM RD34NW = 100NM

Downgraded to CAT2
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 89 Comments: 2655
2401. BahaHurican
12:48 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
Quoting 2393. IKE:
Quoting 2386. NEwxguy:
I find it interesting that Bertha had such a jump in intensity,with conditions ok,but not exceptional for developement.Would love to have an analysis of what would spur such a rapid increase in intensity.Thats the real fun of watching these storms,is what goes into their developement or lack of.


Remember there were some who said she wouldn't get to a cat 3...the TCHP wasn't high enough...imagine what a system could do with high TCHP!!!!

Stay tuned!


Dennis and Emily 2005. Not to mention all the others.
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2400. CajunSubbie
12:47 PM GMT on July 08, 2008
wow looking very ragged now
i wonder when this is considered
"falling apart" to some of my polictically correct bloggers. :)
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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