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    Tropical Storm Bertha not expected to strike mainland United States, forecasters say

     The National Hurricane Center forecast for Tropical Storm Bertha issued 5 p.m. Friday.

    The National Hurricane Center forecast for Tropical Storm Bertha issued 5 p.m. Friday.

    Tropical Storm Bertha, the second named tropical system of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, is not expected to strike the mainland United States, according to a Friday afternoon forecast from the National Hurricane Center. 

    The tropical storm is passing near the northern end of Martinique at 5 p.m. Friday, according to a public advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center. 

    Bertha is poised to impact Puerto Rico, a United States territory, by Saturday, delivering heavy rain, tropical storm force winds, and coastal flooding. 

    But the tropical storm then gradually takes more of a northwesterly path, eventually heading in a northward direction, according to the National Hurricane Center forecast. 

    While Bertha is expected to retain tropical storm force strength through Wednesday, the projected path takes the system somewhere between southeastern United States and Bermuda before taking a sharper turn to the east-northeast.

    The projected track is the result of a strong trough of low pressure over the eastern United States that “should be strong enough to recurve Bertha to the northeast without the storm hitting the mainland U.S. coast,” wrote Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground in a blog post

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