Friday, July 18, 2008

The Legacy of Bertha

The longest lasting July tropical system on record is still holding her own in the North Atlantic. Tropical Storm Bertha, once a category 3 hurricane, has been going strong since July 3rd when she formed off the African Coast. If you think you remember a Bertha from earlier years, you would be correct. In fact, there have been six tropical systems named Bertha in the Atlantic Basin, three reached hurricane strength. The last Bertha to form was a tropical storm in 2002 that affected the Louisiana and Texas Gulf coast with heavy rains and top winds of 40mph. The National Hurricane Center recycles the names of tropical systems until a storm causes significant loss of property or life, and then the name is retired. There is a chance Bertha may finally be retired, not because of her destruction, but because of her records. Not only is Bertha the longest lasting July tropical system, she is also the farthest east pre-August forming tropical system and major hurricane on record.

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