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 Bertha encountered increasing southwesterly shear and weakened just as fast as she had strengthened

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