Bertha could unleash heavy rainfall and produce life-threatening flash flooding as it makes landfall along South Carolina coast, National Hurricane Center says.
Tropical Storm Bertha made landfall on South Carolina's coast on Wednesday morning shortly after it formed, becoming the second named storm before the official start of this year's Atlantic hurricane season.
A tropical storm warning was issued for South Carolina's coast and the storm was expected to bring heavy rainfall, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Bertha's maximum sustained winds were near 80 kph as it came ashore but it was expected to weaken to a tropical depression after moving inland.
The storm was centered about 40 km east of Charleston, South Carolina, and was moving northwest near 15 kph.
"The good news is that it is just 30 miles offshore and is going to move inland during the next few hours, so this is not going to get any stronger," said Dennis Feltgen, a communications officer and meteorologist at the NHC.
Tropical Storm Bertha makes landfall in South Carolina. Heavy rainfall threat will spread northward with life-threatening flash flooding possible. For more information on local impacts in the TS warning area see @NWSCharlestonSC pic.twitter.com/Y05htQquWH— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) May 27, 2020
Earlier this month, Tropical Storm Arthur brought rain to North Carolina before moving out to sea.
It was the sixth straight year that a named storm has developed before June 1, the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.
The last time there were two named storms before June was in 2016, according to Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist with Colorado State University’s atmospheric science department.
It also happened in 1887, 1908, 1951 and 2012, he said.
“Most of these early season named storms form, at least in part, from non-tropical or subtropical processes and don’t necessarily imply anything about the remainder of the season," Klotzbach said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.