Tropical Storm Bertha Takes Aim at Bahamas, Turks and Caicos

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Tropical Storm Bertha aimed for the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands early Sunday as its heavy rains and wind led to the cancellation of flights and caused power outages in parts of the Caribbean. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph), and slow strengthening was expected by Monday. Bertha was centered 70 miles (110 kilometers) east-southeast of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic and was moving northwest at 22 mph (35 kph) late Saturday night. Tropical storm warnings were in effect for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. A tropical storm watch was in effect for the central Bahamas.

Bertha clipped the Dominican Republic's northeast coast late Saturday after passing just southwest of Puerto Rico earlier that day, dropping between 3 to 5 inches (8-13 centimeters) of rain, with isolated amounts of up to 8 inches (20 centimeters). Rescue crews traveled to the country's east and northeast regions to help with evacuations if needed, while authorities banned vessels from operating along the country's east coast, which is popular with tourists.


- The Associated Press