Monday, July 7, 2008

First hurricane of 2008 Atlantic season

Big Bertha! The first hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic season has formed and is crossing the Atlantic - a rarity for this early in the season. Most tropical systems this time of year form in the warm waters of the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico, with Atlantic-crossers not starting until the middle of the season.

As of this 11am EDT, maximum wind is 90 mph (80 kts) in this storm with a forecast for some additional strengthening to Cat 2 status. In the next 48 hours, Bertha will encounter a trough over the western Atlantic which will serve to turn it more towards the north and also likely cause it to start a slow weakening trend as it encounters more atmospheric shear compliments of the trough. Right now, it is too early to tell whether it will have any impact on land, though Bermuda would seem to be the mostly likely possible victim should it maintain it's forecast track into the latter stages of the week. A forecast track map is below.

On another note, the scattered storms over the weekend missed my rain gauge! WXLIVE! recorded only 0.01" of rain over the weekend. Some areas particularly in eastern AR, northern MS, and south of I-40 in west TN (including parts of Memphis) got healthy and much-needed downpours. In the meantime, the grass wilts at my house and more heat this week will not help. Highs all week and next weekend will be in the mid 90s except possibly Thursday and Friday when daytime scattered t'storms could help to hold the temps down in the 90-93 range. Heat indices will be from 99-103 on days without rain as well.

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