This pathetic, disorganized clump of clouds sitting a few hundred miles east of the Florida coast somehow managed to become Hurricane Bertha this morning, with a Hurricane Hunter aircraft confirming that it has a small area of 80 MPH winds extending about 25 miles away from its center.
The National Hurricane Center used the aircraft observations to classify Bertha as a hurricane at this morning's 11 o'clock advisory "in spite of its unimpressive appearance on satellite imagery [and] with scant evidence of banding features and relatively disorganized deep convection."
In other words, it bears no visual likeness to an actual hurricane, but a hurricane it is.
Bertha poses no threat to the United States, as models are in rare and almost unanimous agreement that it will quickly start to recurve to the northeast around a Bermuda High. The storm will make its closest approach to land later this week when it grazes Newfoundland as a hurricane. After the system loses its tropical characteristics, it will still remain a potent extratropical cyclone when it threatens Great Britain late in the weekend or early next week. That bears watching for our friends (or enemies, if you still hold a grudge) across the pond.
Elsewhere in the world...
Hawaii is still on alert for a possible strike from Category 4 Hurricane Iselle (pictured above) later this week, which should weaken to a tropical storm by the time it threatens the islands. This could be the state's strongest tropical cyclone since 1994's Hurricane Iniki.
[Satellite images via GOES, Hurricane Bertha graphic by the author]