July 13, 2008

Tropical Storm Inches Toward Bermuda

A weakening tropical storm Bertha was packing 65 mph winds Sunday night as it slowly advanced toward Bermuda, U.S. forecasters in Miami reported.

The system, which was downgraded from hurricane status early Sunday, was moving northwestward near 2 mph with storm winds extending 140 miles from the center, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami reported.

Forecasters said a gradual turn to the north within the next two days could bring the storm's center not far from the island's southeast and eastern shores.

The Bermuda weather office posted a tropical storm warning Saturday saying as much as 4 inches of rain could fall in the next couple of days.

The island's Royal Gazette newspaper said that could be a blessing, as there has been only about 20 percent of the normal rainfall for this time of year. The majority of Bermuda's fresh water comes from rain, which is stored beneath buildings in cisterns.

Heavy surf began pounding the island Friday, which was expected to continue at least for two more days, the report said.