Tropical storm BERTHA bound for Barbados

Tropical storm BERTHA was upgraded from disturbance thirteen overnight, and as a consequence many of your inboxes will be filling with excited weather chaff. With due respect to the people of Barbados, this is really only a marginal storm with wind speeds of 40 knots and the odd gust to 55 knots. The great and the good have given this a hurricane severity rating of just 3 (1 for intensity and 2 for size) which is about as pathetic as a storm can get really, and not expected to improve. Nonetheless this is now centred about 180 miles east- sou'east of Barbados and making a beeline for the island at between 15 and 18 knots so likely to make landfall in around 10 hours time, bringing squalls and tropical storm strength force gusts. High upper level shear will prevent this increasing while it passes across the north east Caribbean today and tomorrow. By Saturday evening, this should reach Puerto Rico, turning north west towards the Bahamas then north and northeast by the start of next week. At present BERTHA is expected to give the US east coast a wide 'berth'. That line was from a Canadian weather agency. I can only apologise.

Disturbance fourteen is mid-Atlantic now and headed west at 16 knots but hitting dry air and will have to be on top of its game to survive the next few days. Mind you, we all said that about disturbance thirteen/BERTHA.

Storm cones aloft over Barbados - otherwise stand easy. 

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