Bertha, which became the second hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season today, made its way through the Caribbean as a weak and disorganized tropical storm this past weekend. Bertha is heading north and is expected to pass along the U.S. East Coast without making landfall, according to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide.
The National Hurricane Center also said this morning that Bertha did not appear to pose a threat to the U.S. The center said that it expected Bertha will continue to move away from the Bahamas today and pass about midway between the U.S. east coast and Bermuda on Tuesday.
For most of Bertha’s journey through the Caribbean, maximum sustained winds were 45 mph (72 km/h), said Scott Stransky, manager and principal scientist at AIR Worldwide. He said its interaction with Puerto Rico and Hispaniola kept it at tropical storm status. Several inches of rain fell in the Turks & Caicos Islands, and more than 8 inches of rain fell in parts of central Puerto Rico.
“Much of the island has been experiencing abnormally dry conditions, with the southernmost part in a moderate drought, so the precipitation associated with the bypassing Bertha may be beneficial,” Stransky said.
Reported damage involved power outages and cancelled flights, with some areas such as St. Croix reporting downed trees, according to Boston-based AIR.
There were nearly 29,000 households without electricity on Puerto Rico on Sunday, with most outages concentrated in the central mountainous areas. Hundreds were reported to be without power in the Dominican Republic over the weekend, and Martinique’s electric company reported that 150,000 homes were without power at one point due to an underlying problem at the power plant, which Bertha exacerbated. More than 80,000 on Martinique had their power back four hours after losing it. In addition to power outages, there were numerous flight cancellations throughout the Caribbean.
Stransky said Bertha is not expected to impact any land areas “until after it completes its post-tropical transition,” when it may impact Newfoundland on Thursday.
AIR aid it is also tracking Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm Julio in the eastern Pacific.