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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 07/ 9/2008

Bertha's Been Here Before

By Jason Samenow

Twelve years ago to the date, hurricane forecasters were tracking another Bertha, which formed roughly 1,000 miles west of this year's version. But Bertha '96, rather than hooking out to sea like Bertha '08, held a westerly course striking North Carolina before riding up the East Coast.

Local author Rick Schwartz's comprehensive book (published in 2007) "Hurricanes and the Middle Atlantic States" documents Bertha's impact locally:

Bertha reached Virginia as a tropical storm, bringing gusts of 50-60 mph to the eastern half of the state. It dumped 3-6 inches of rain from the Delmarva Peninsula to the Richmond and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas. Short-lived tornadoes touched down in Smithfield, Gloucester, Hampton and Northumberland counties in Virginia, injuring nine people.

For Fox-5 weathercaster Sue Palka, who was sent to the North Carolina coast to report on Bertha, it was her first experience covering a landfalling storm. She recounts her "exciting and frightening" experience and includes video of the coverage on her blog.

See also: The National Hurricane Center's Report on Bertha '96.

Bertha '08 continues to fluctuate in intensity over the tropical Atlantic, but remains at hurricane strength. Track guidance suggests Bertha will take a turn to the north well east of Bermuda, although the National Hurricane Center cautions "interests on that island should continue to monitor the progress of this hurricane."

By Jason Samenow  | July 9, 2008; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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Comments

Looks like a line of thunderstorms is developing at the Md/PA border and dropping south.

Posted by: JT | July 9, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Bertha's not likely to be the Big One, but a guest on CNBC this afternoon had some interesting investment suggestions following major hurricane damage.

Posted by: CapitalClimate | July 9, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I like that XTRP track. :-D

Posted by: Havoc | July 9, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Bertha bounces back: Now up to Category 2.

CapitalClimate

Posted by: CapitalClimate | July 9, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I was (obviously incorrectly) under the impression that the names of serious hurricanes were "retired". I'm surprised that Bertha was allowed to haunt us again.

What is the rule about retiring names from the rotation and who makes the call?

Posted by: Enquiring Mind In MD | July 9, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The name game:
The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO committee (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it.

CapitalClimate

Posted by: CapitalClimate | July 9, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

As a Category 2 at landfall, Bertha96 was significant. The 8 lives and $250 million in damage were certainly tragic to those affected, but not catastrophic.

CapitalClimate.

Posted by: CapitalClimate | July 9, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

BERTHA 1996,A SHAKE-UP. FRAN AND JOSEPHINE FOLLOWED IN 1996.THE TROUBLMAKER WAS BONNIE IN 1998 AND fLOYD IN 1999. THE REGIONAL SHOULD TURN ACTIVE AGAIN THIS YEAR NO MATTER WHAT THIS BERTHA DOES.THEN LOOK OUT DURING THE NEXT FEW YEARS.

Posted by: RICK SCHWARTZ | July 10, 2008 3:17 AM | Report abuse

BERTHA 1996,A SHAKE-UP AND START TO AN ACTIVE DECADE. FRAN AND JOSEPHINE FOLLOWED IN 1996.THE TROUBLE-MAKER WAS BONNIE IN 1998 AND fLOYD IN 1999. 2003 FEATURED ISABEL, AND SEVERAL HURRICANES IN 20004 FEATURED TORNADO OUTBREAKS AND HEAVY RAIN. THE REGION SHOULD TURN ACTIVE AGAIN THIS YEAR NO MATTER WHAT THIS BERTHA DOES.THEN LOOK OUT DURING THE NEXT FEW YEARS.

Posted by: RICK SCHWARTZ | July 10, 2008 3:17 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 3:23 AM | Report abuse

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