Tropical storm Bertha is the second named storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, the first hurricane, and the first major hurricane. Bertha has been a spectaculary persistant storm, especially when considering the time of year, location, and climatology. Bertha formed on July 3, 2008 from a strong westward moving tropical wave. For the first few days of her life Bertha maintained a west to west-northwest heading through the atlantic. The storm was limited in its intensification due to cool(25) waters and therefore remained only a 50 mph storm through July 6. After moving back over warmer waters Bertha began intensifying and reached hurricane status at 5am on July 7 while situated approximetly 850 miles east of the Leeward islands. Coincidently Hurricane Bertha of 1996 also reached hurricane status on July 7. After reaching hurricane status Bertha continued to strengthen at a quick pace. 12 hours later (5pm July 7) Bertha was classified a catagory 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph, the first major hurricane of the year. The following Morning of the 8th Bertha encountered increasing southwesterly shear and weakened just as fast as she had strengthened. By early on the 9th she was a minimal hurricane. Bertha was able to survive the wind shear, however, and rebounded to a catagory 2 storm later that day. As Bertha neared Bermuda stearing currents weakened significantly, and Bertha remained nearly completely stationary frrom 8am on the 12th to 5pm on the 13th, with tropical strom force winds remaining just off shore of Bermuda. As a result The storm caused upwelling of cooler waters and weakened to a tropical storm early on the 13th. Three swimmers in New Jersey drowned as a result of high surf and rip currents drowned as a result of the storm. Bertha resumed a slow north northwest motion on the morning of the 14th, which brought tropical storm force winds and heavy rains along with 18 foot seas to Bermuda where a peak wind of 55 mph and a gust to 79 mph were reported. Bertha continued to track away from Bermuda and had cleared the island by 2am on July 15. On the 16th Bertha began to feel the effects of an upper level low approching her from the northeast. This was reflected in a turn to the south east and a decreas in her peak winds as wind shear increased. Bertha continued her southeast curve through the 17th and resumed a northeastward motion on the 18th. As bertha turned northeast she began to strengthen once again, and again became a hurricane. Bertha weakened to a tropical storm late on july 19th after having been a hurricane for 24 hours. At this time Bertha was crossing the 20 degree isotherm, which is well below the 26 degrees typically needed to support tropical systems. Bertha's foward speed increased to 25 mph as she entered the mid lattitude westerlies. Bertha became totally extratropical at 11am on the 20, shortly before moving over 11 degree waters. Her foward speed was a fast 36 mph at the time.
The following records are now held by Bertha:

  • most easterly forming Pre-August storm
  • most easterly forming Pre-August hurricane
  • most easterly forming Pre-August major hurricane
  • She is also the first "B" named hurricane since Bret in 1999.
  • 6th strongest Pre August storm
  • 12th Pre August major hurricane
  • 3rd strongest July hurricane
  • 4th longest lasting Pre-August hurricane
  • THE longest lasting Pre-August storm

while it is unofficial, at 7.0 days, bertha may have eclipsed the record for longest cumulative time as a hurricane in july

Stats on Bertha

Formed July 3, 2008
Dissipated July 20, 2008
Maximum winds 120
Minimum pressure 948
Deaths 3
Cost ?
Areas affected Cape Verde, Bermuda, New Jersey

Bertha at peak intensity on July 7th. Some estimates actually had her as a catagory four storm at this time.


Bertha Charts and Images
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