Tropical Storm Bertha to hit Southeast US coast Wednesday (with forecast video)

Satellite animation of Tropical Storm Bertha.

Tropical Storm Bertha, the second named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, formed Wednesday morning off the Southeast coast of the United States. Flooding and minor wind damage are likely in parts of the Carolnas and Virginia through Wednesday night.

SONAR Critical Events: Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 9 a.m. EDT; Tropical Storm Bertha

The low pressure system quickly strengthened last night and became better organized, developing a closed center of circulation earlier today and becoming a named storm before the video below was recorded.

At 8:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday, May 27, Bertha was centered about 30 miles southwest of Charleston South Carolina, moving toward the northwest at 9 mph. This motion is expected to continue through tonight. On this forecast track, the center of Bertha will move onshore in South Carolina by early Wednesday afternoon, somewhere between Charleston and Myrtle Beach. Then Bertha will move inland across eastern and northern South Carolina later today and into west-central North Carolina by tonight.

Maximum sustained winds Wednesday morning were clocked at 45 mph, with higher gusts. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center. National Hurricane Center forecasters expect Bertha to weaken to a tropical depression after landfall, becoming a remnant low pressure cell tonight.

Bertha could produce total rainfall of 2 to 4 inches, with isolated totals of 6 to 8 inches across eastern and central South Carolina, west-central and far southeastern North Carolina, and southwestern Virginia. This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash flooding.

Minor storm surge and wind damage will hit South Carolina in the Tropical Storm warning area, from Edisto Beach to the South Santee River.

Bertha may cause short-term freight movement delays, as drivers will have to deal with heavy rainfall and potential road closures. However, the storm will move through few, if any, key freight markets.

SONAR Ticker: OTVIW; Forecast radar at 3 p.m. EDT, May 27, 2020

The SONAR map directly above shows the Outbound Tender Volume Index weekly change (OTVIW). Pale blue, white and red represent decreases in outbound volumes week-over-week, which is what’s been happening in almost all markets in Bertha’s path. So, there likely are far fewer drivers heading to these areas to pick up loads compared to other markets.

Even though Tropical Storm Bertha is only the second named storm, the season is off to an early start. Tropical Storm Arthur dumped heavy rainfall in parts of southern Florida, the Bahamas and North Carolina’s Outer Banks in mid-May. This is the sixth consecutive year with at least one named storm before the official start of the season, which is June 1.

Have a great day! Please stay healthy and be careful out there!