Tropical Storm Bertha five-day forecast track. NHC/NOAA graphic
By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA -- At 5:00 pm EDT on Friday, the centre of Tropical Storm Bertha was located 20 miles northwest of Fort de France, Martinique, and about 405 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, as the system moved into the northeastern Caribbean Sea.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Bertha was moving toward the west-northwest near 24 mph and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, Bertha is expected to pass near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Saturday, pass near or over the eastern Dominican Republic Saturday night and approach the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph, with higher gusts. Bertha remains in an environment that is not favourable for strengthening and little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.
A French weather station on La Desirade Island near Guadeloupe reported sustained winds of 35 mph and a wind gust of 52 mph.
Tropical storm conditions were spreading across portions of the southern Leeward Islands in the warning area, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Tropical storm conditions were possible on Guadeloupe during Friday evening. Tropical storm conditions are expected in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Saturday. Wind gusts to tropical storm force could occur in squalls over the remainder of the Leeward Islands.
Bertha is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches with isolated amounts up to 6 inches across portions of the Leeward Islands, as well as the US and British Virgin Islands. Rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches with isolated maximum totals of 10 inches are possible across Puerto Rico, with the heaviest totals across the southern portion of the island.
The government of The Bahamas has issued a tropical storm watch for the southeastern Bahamas, including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands, as well as for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Dominica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, and a tropical storm watch is in effect for the eastern Dominican Republic from Cabo Frances Viejo to Isla Sauna.
Interests elsewhere across the northeastern Caribbean Sea and Hispaniola should monitor the progress of this system.