msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/6/2008 11:22:33 AM ET 2008-07-06T15:22:33

Tropical Storm Bertha is approaching warmer waters and is likely to strengthen during the coming days.

At 11 a.m. EDT Sunday, Bertha was centered about 1,185 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands in the Caribbean.

Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph with some higher gusting. Forecasters say Bertha is expected to strengthen during the next few days and could become the Atlantic season's first hurricane.

The storm is moving toward the west at about 21 mph. It's still too early to say if or where Bertha will hit land.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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