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Bertha becomes 1st hurricane of Atlantic season


MIAMI - Bertha became the first hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic season Monday and its winds were expected to strengthen further over the next few days at open sea, forecasters said.

At 0900 GMT (5 a.m. ET), Hurricane Bertha had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Forecasters said it was still too early to determine if Bertha will eventually hit land.

The Category 1 hurricane was located 845 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands in the Caribbean. It was moving west-northwest near 17 mph, but its speed was expected to decrease over the tropical Atlantic over the next couple of days.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from Bertha's center, the hurricane center said.

The first named storm this year, Arthur, formed in the Atlantic the day before the season officially started June 1 and soaked the Yucatan Peninsula. It did not go above tropical storm status.

Source - msnbc


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