Bertha becomes 2nd named hurricane of the season

Hurricane Bertha has formed in the Atlantic off the U.S. East Coast but isn't expected to be a threat to land.

The second hurricane of the Atlantic season formed before 11 a.m. Monday had maximum sustained winds near 80 mph (130 kph), with little change expected in the next 24 hours. It was forecast to start weakening Tuesday.

The hurricane is centered about 230 miles (370 kilometers) northeast of Great Abaco Island and is moving north near 17 mph (28 kph).

The storm brushed the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas over the weekend as a tropical storm.

The current forecast map predicts that the center of the storm will stay offshore through Thursday.

DISCUSSION: As of 11 a.m. Monday, the center of Hurricane Bertha was located near latitude 27.6 north, longitude 73.6 west. Bertha is moving toward the north near 17 mph, and a turn toward the north-northeast and northeast with increasing forward speed is forecast over the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, Bertha will continue to move away from the Bahamas Monday and pass about midway between the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda on Tuesday.

Reports from NOAA and the Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 24 hours.  A weakening trend is expected to begin by late Tuesday.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 160 miles.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 998 mb, 29.47 inches.

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