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Bertha Approaching Virgin Islands

At 5 pm the centre of Tropical Storm Bertha was estimated near latitude 14.9 north longitude 61.2 west. Bertha is moving toward the west-northwest near 24 mph and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. On the forecast track Bertha is expected to move away from Martinique into the Northeastern Caribbean Sea during the next several hours pass near or over the eastern Dominican Republic Saturday night and approach the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands on Sunday.

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Based upon the latest position and forecast track, Tropical Storm Bertha is projected to pass within 100 miles of the British Virgin Islands in the next 12-24 hours. As a result skies will become increasingly cloudy with periods of moderate to heavy showers and isolated to scattered thunderstorms. These showers could cause flash flooding and landslides. As a result, a flash flood watch/warning may become necessary for the islands later this evening.

Seas will become very rough and swells will peak near 10ft. A small craft warning is in effect and mariners should stay in port. Sea bathers should also avoid the beaches.

A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the British Virgin Islands. This means that Tropical Storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area…in this case within the next 24 hours.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 50 mph with higher gusts. No significant change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles mainly to the north east of the centre.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1007 mb.

The forecast now indicates a faster forward speed once the system moves north of the Caribbean. Bertha has accelerated slightly to the west-northwest. The latest computer model tracks have shifted slightly west of their previous forecast tracks.