Storm Arthur (TS)
Hurricane Bertha (1)
Tropical Storm Cesar (TS)
Hurricane Diana (2)
Tropical Storm Edouard (TS)
Tropical Storm Fran (TS)
Hurricane Gustav (3)
Tropical Storm Hortense (TS)
Hurricane Isidore (2)
Hurricane Josephine (1)
Hurricane Klaus (1)
Hurricane Lili (1)
Tropical Storm Marco (TS)
Hurricane Nana (1)
Bertha was an Atlantic hurricane that originated
from a non-tropical area of low pressure near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The northern portion of a tropical wave, however, did interact with the
system during its formative stage.
a. Synoptic History
A tropical wave emerged from the northwest coast of Africa
on 15 July and split on the 20th in the mid-tropical Atlantic with the
northern portion organizing briefly several hundred nautical miles east-northeast
of the Leeward Islands on the 23rd. Meanwhile, a trailing tropical wave
was in the process of developing into Tropical
Storm Arthur and a frontal system was approaching the east coast of
the Unites States. by 1200 UTC on the 24th, a low pressure area formed
just southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, ahead of the frontal
The northern portion of the tropical wave disorganized rapidly
due to the shearing while continuing northwestward and the Hatteras low
moved southeastward in association with an upper low. By 1800 UTC on the
25th while Arthur was entering the Caribbean
Sea, the northern portion of the original tropical wave was approaching
the Hatteras low, and that low began recurving southwestward toward Florida.
The first satellite classification of the system occurred then.
For the next 36 hours, the low pressure system continued drifting
southwestward with little change in strength. In retrospect, it is estimated
that Tropical Depression Three formed 290 nautical miles east of Daytona
Beach near 0600 UTC, 27 July. The tropical depression drifted to within
245 nautical miles east-northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida before looping
cyclonically northeastward. Based on 40-mph sustained winds reported by
the Russian ship "Akademik Zavaritsaky" (UNUG), the depression
was deemed to have reached tropical storm strength at 0000 UTC on the
28th. The first of 40 Air Force reconnaissance aircraft fixes for Bertha
over the next four days was at 0316 UTC on the 28th. That fix revealed
61-mph winds at the flight altitude of 1500 feet.
Tropical Storm Bertha drifted northeastward during the 28th. Air Force
reconnaissance reports from 2100 UTC on the 28th to 0000 UTC on the 29th
showed 90-mph winds at 850 mb and extrapolated surface pressures in the
vicinity of 990 mb. Thus, the system is estimated to have reached hurricane
strength near 0000 UTC, 29 July, 465 nautical miles west-southwest of
Bermuda. At that time, ridging from a strong Bermuda high extended across
to the northeastern United States.
Hurricane Bertha experienced strong shearing while continuing northeastward
and weakened to a tropical storm at 1800 UTC on the 29th with the center
displaced from the convection. There was some speculation as to whether
or not Bertha was becoming subtropical during this period because the
deep convection was 60-180 nautical miles from the center. However, deep
convection returned progressively closer to the center and the center
was under the central dense overcast by 1200 UTC on the 30th. An Air Force
reconnaissance plane at 1102 UTC found 92-mph winds at the 1500-feet flight
level with a surface pressure of 988 mb. Thus, Bertha became a hurricane
again near 1200 UTC, 30 July, 255 nautical miles east of Cape Hatteras,
North Carolina, six days after Bertha's incipient stage as a low pressure
area just southeast of Cape Hatteras.
Hurricane Bertha, with an increasing expanse of tropical storm force winds,
continued moving northeastward as the ridge to the north was eroding.
Bertha took a slight jog to the left when the Bermuda/Azores high coupled
with a new high cell over Newfoundland. Subsequently, the Newfoundland
high moved southeastward over the Grand Banks and Bertha jogged back to
the right to its original course toward the Maritime Provinces. The system
was taking on extratropical characteristics by then and began accelerating
on 1 August with the center passing just west of Sable Island late on
the 1st. Bertha was declared extratropical at 0600 UTC on the 2nd with
the center directly over Sydney, Nova Scotia at that time. The weakening
extratropical system continued northward over the eastern Gulf of St.
b. Meteorological Statistics
For most of its life, Bertha was primarily of concern to marine
community with numerous ships reporting sustained winds in the 40 to 58-mph
range. The lowest reported pressure of 985 mb was from the Canadian ship
"A.S.L. Sanderling" (VOLG).
While the available surface observations do not reflect the strong winds
associated with Bertha, the broad circulation did produce high surf along
the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to North Carolina. Moderate beach
erosion occurred along the coast of North Carolina and the Outer Banks.
Moored bouy 44137 located at 41.1°N, 61.1°W reported 65-mph
winds, with a significant wave height of 25 feet and a maximum wave height
of 50 feet at 1700 UTC, 1 August.
At landfall, the center of Bertha was moving northward at 23 mph.
1. Rainfall Data
Bertha did produce copious amounts of rainfall over Nova Scotia with storm
totals in excess of 7 inches at Hunters Mountain and at Braddeck, Nova Scotia.
c. Casualty and Damage Statistics
There were 9 deaths attributed to Bertha; 2 in Florida and
7 in Nova Scotia.
According to The Chronicle-Herald, published in Halifax, Canada, twenty
seven crew members of the 593-foot Greek Freighter "Corazon"
abandoned ship 11 hours after reporting that the ship was breaking up.
Thirty-feet waves whipped up winds gusting to 90 mph snapped its keel.
One of the crew members fell into the water and drowned while trying to
boad either a lifeboat or a rubber raft. He was pulled from the water
dead by the crew of the Russian trawler Vympel. The crew of the
Vympel attempted to rescue what was reported to be 12 sailors in
a rubber raft but the raft was pulled into the trawler's propeller and
rudder area and 6 or 7 sailors were pitched into the ocean. Five of them
were taken aboad the Nova Europa, a freighter registered in Hong
Kong. Another Russian Freighter and a Norweigian merchant ship also picked
up crew members. A total of 6 crew members of the Corozon perished; 21
A verbal communication from the Rescue Coordination Center at Scott AFB
stated that a seaman was swept off the "Patricia Star",
a 240-foot container ship, and lost while attempting to secure a deck
load in heavy seas with winds estimated at 58-75 mph.
According to The Miami Herald, Bertha was blamed for rip currents that
drowned 2 people at north Florida beaches; 200 others were rescued.
The Chronicle-Herald stated that several people were rescued at Peggy's
Cove, Nova Scotia when 15-feet waves from Bertha washed them into the
A total of 9 people perished as a result of Bertha.
Damage was reported to a suspension bridge near Warren Lake, Cape Breton,
Nova Scotia, and parts of the Ingonish Beach Golf Course were flooded.
Wind and heavy rain damaged corn and tobacco crops on Prince Edward Island.
Intensity For Hurricane Bertha
24 July - 02 August, 1990
||Category 1 Hurricane
for Hurricane Bertha
24 July - 02 August, 1990