Sad Sack of Clouds off Florida Coast Is Now a Hurricane, Somehow

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.

Sad Sack of Clouds off Florida Coast Is Now a Hurricane, Somehow

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...

Sad Sack of Clouds off Florida Coast Is Now a Hurricane, Somehow

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]