Ex-Hurricane Bertha Winds Down On Approach To UK

The southern coast of the U.K. is predicted to see rain this weekend as the remnants of Hurricane Bertha head towards Europe. There is a 40 percent chance of heavy rain, strong winds, and large waves along the southeast coast.

Born at midnight as a tropical storm on July 31 275 miles southeast of Barbados, Bertha barreled through the Caribbean before turning northwards. It became the season’s second named hurricane but only briefly, fragmenting as the storm slowed and shifted its path, heading across the Atlantic.

The Weather Channel reports that the storm brought welcome rainfall to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and eastern Hispanola. At least two roads have collapsed in Puerto Rico, where some interior and mountainous areas are estimated to have received 10 inches (254 mm) of rain. Thousands were left without power in the Caribbean as the tropical storm became a hurricane, reaching wind speeds of 90 miles per hour (145 km/h).

The U.S. experienced little impact as the hurricane passed the eastern coast at a non-threatening distance. High surf and rip currents made water rescues necessary at Ocean City, Maryland, and one man has been reported drowned south of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

No longer a hurricane, Bertha is moving across the Atlantic and towards Europe. Its gateway is most likely to be the English Channel, with a very low probability that the storm will roll northwards along the western side of the U.K. If Bertha changes course, it is more likely to swing south over northern France.

In the ex-hurricane’s path is south and southeastern U.K., where the weekend is expected to bring something a little stronger than the average English summer. No stranger to torrential rains or flooding, Wales is battening down the hatches as the Met Office predicts that Sunday will see winds of up to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) and up to an inch (50 mm) of rain.

Southern UK Expected To See Rain, Wind
The Met Office Has Issued Severe Weather Warnings

Vacationers and residents alike are being urged to stay aware of current weather conditions as the ex-hurricane approaches. The path could change quickly as the storm comes into contact with coastal winds. For many, the change in the weather will be welcomed, coming as a relief after sweltering heat has baked the region through July.

BBC Weather has quoted the Met Office with an advisory:

“The system may pass harmlessly to the south of the country, or spread heavy rain even further north, and the public are advised to keep to date with warnings.”

The Met Office has also advised, on its blog:

“While there remains a good deal of uncertainty about the weather on Sunday, it currently looks as if it will be fairly unsettled with some rain and breezy conditions — but nothing too unusual for the time of year.”

Even as the forecast remains uncertain, warnings have been issued by the Environmental Agency’s Flood Risk Manager, Craig Woolhouse:

“On Sunday and Monday a combination of high spring tides and strong westerly winds brings a possible risk of flooding to the southwest coast of England and along the Severn Estuary while heavy rain may also lead to localised surface water flooding in parts of southern and central parts of England.”

2014 is predicted to have lower than average hurricane activity and this forecast could hold true if Hurricane Bertha is an indication of things to come.

[Image Courtesy of NOAA]