Bertha's Been Here Before
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."
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