Tropical Storm Bertha formed off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, early Wednesday, becoming the second named storm before the official start of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. The storm moved inland shortly after forming.
The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning for South Carolina’s coast and the storm was expected to bring heavy rainfall to North Carolina on Wednesday and Thursday.
Here's the path for tropical storm Bertha. Storm was quickly named this morning after rapid strengthening off the coast of Charleston. Our forecast hasn't changed because it has been named. Still expecting heavy rain, especially from Charlotte to the east. Flood risk remains pic.twitter.com/fqXDylixkn— Keith Monday (@kmondayWSOC9) May 27, 2020
Officials said the biggest threat from Bertha will be heavy rainfall, along with tropical storm-force winds along portions of the South Carolina coast.
Bertha’s maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph but it’s expected to weaken to a tropical depression after moving inland.
Tropical Storm #Bertha has formed near the coast of South Carolina this morning. Heavy rainfall will be the biggest threat, along with tropical storm force winds along portions of the South Carolina coast https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/8CeH3j9TlU— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) May 27, 2020
Several counties across the Charlotte region are under a flash flood watch.
North Carolina could see widespread rain by Wednesday afternoon and there will be a rip current risk along the Atlantic coast.
Bertha started off as a low-pressure system and developed very quickly Wednesday morning thanks to warm ocean temperatures.
Earlier this month, Tropical Storm Arthur brought rain to North Carolina, according to The Associated Press. It was the sixth straight year that a named storm has developed before June 1,
Another system will keep rain falling in North Carolina on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, tapering off early Sunday morning. The rain will be on and off or scattered at times.