Bertha intensifies rapidly; now a Cat 3!

Hurricane Bertha, a minimal hurricane earlier this morning, is now a major Category 3 storm, packing 115 MPH winds. It’s developed one heck of a satellite presentation — it looks pretty textbook to me. This intensification kind of outgunned what most of the thinking was with the computer models; again, predicting hurricanes is still a very inexact science, and they still do things that we don’t necessarily expect. Bertha’s not expected to be this strong for too terribly long; it’s moving into an uncertain environment with slightly cooler water and some wind shear, so it will probably start to lose steam in the next day or so.

Bertha’s slowing up in forward speed, too, which is a pretty good indication that it’ll start to turn northwest and more north in the next day or so. Bermuda will want to keep an eye on it because the exact time when it will turn changes their situation, but things are looking more like a U.S. landfall is less likely.