Tuesday, July 8, 2008

AIR Worldwide: Bertha Now a CAT 2 Hurricane

According to catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Hurricane Bertha—the first hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season—intensified quickly yesterday from Category 1 status in the morning to Category 3 status by the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. advisory. Overnight, however, the storm entered a region of increased wind shear and as of 10 a.m. today, Bertha is now a Category 2 hurricane.

“As of 11:00 a.m. EDT, Bertha was located about 660 miles east northeast of the northern Leeward Islands and 975 miles southeast of Bermuda. Bertha’s maximum sustained winds, which had achieved 120 mph last night, have weakened to 105 mph, with higher gusts,” said Dr. Justin Cox, research scientist & meteorologist at AIR Worldwide. “The National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts additional weakening over the next 24 hours as the storm continues its northwesterly track.” Forward speed is estimated at nearly 10 mph.

The NHC and the operational forecast models are in better agreement this morning in their assessment that Bertha will recurve well east of Bermuda. However, it is important to recognize that there is uncertainty in these forecasts, and AIR will continue to monitor Bertha’s progress.

Cox continued, “Bertha is a strong early season hurricane. Historically, only five hurricanes have exceeded Bertha’s intensity this early in a hurricane season.”

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