Tropical Storm Bertha Makes Landfall In South Carolina After Flooding South Florida

Tropical Storm Bertha As It Makes Landfall          Satellite Image: Accuweather

The second named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Bertha, strengthened quickly overnight Tuesday and made landfall yesterday morning about 20 miles east of Charleston.  Fortunately, it weakened by late yesterday afternoon, but it still packed plenty of wind and rain for inland areas of the Carolinas, with up to 8 inches of rain in the Carolinas and southwestern Virginia possible, according to Accuweather.  On Tuesday, as a result of the storm, Miami experienced more than 7 inches of rain — 6 of which fell in 2 hours, flooding streets across the city.

Why This Matters:  Tropical Storm Bertha is following an increasingly familiar pattern of unprecedented amounts of rainfall along with strong winds that persist into the interior areas.  Tropical storms, it seems, are not just for summer and not just for coastal areas anymore.  The potential for flash flooding due to torrential rain falling over a short period of time threatens cities like Fayetteville, Charlotte, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Roanoke and Wytheville, Virginia; and Charleston and Beckley, West Virginia.  This is further evidence of the new normal when it comes to severe summer weather, thanks to climate change. 

South Florida Got Drenched – Rain Records Shattered

Tropical Storm Bertha produced flooding in South Florida throughout the Memorial Day weekend. Many streets were underwater across Miami due to the storm.  Miami had 7.43 inches of rain over the holiday weekend, then on Tuesday, it got hammered with another 7 inches.  Accuweather reports that Miami has had 18.88 inches of rain during May, which is more than triple the normal rainfall for the month.  And West Palm Beach shattered its daily rainfall record of 1.14 inches (set only 2 years ago o May 25, 2018) when on Monday 4.44 inches fell, and Fort Lauderdale also set a new one-day rainfall record.

Another Super Storm In the Carolinas

Bertha is just the latest in a string of tropical storms and hurricanes striking the Carolinas in recent years, including Jose, Maria, Florence, Michael, Dorian, and Humberto just since 2017.  Flash flood warnings were issued for parts of north-central and northeastern South Carolina, central North Carolina, southwestern Virginia, and southeastern West Virginia because the ground is already saturated from other significant rainfall events this week.  Strong thunderstorms ripped through Charlotte last Friday, killing two people, with lots of trees and power lines down.  More rain is forecast for the region through the end of the week.

See flooded streets in downtown Miami | Miami Herald

Flooded Streets in Miami        Image: Miami Herald screengrab

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