Bertha, the first major storm of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane season, has set a record despite being downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.
It was the first hurricane to form so far east in the Atlantic before Aug. 1, which suggests that the storm season could be severe. The National Hurricane Center has forecast up to five major hurricanes between now and the end of October.
Tropical Storm Bertha whipped Bermuda with heavy rains and wind gusts of 50 mph on Monday, as it passed just east of the island.
Large swells and high surf pounded Bermuda's beaches and were expected to continue for the next day or so. These swells already have migrated to the U.S. East Coast, causing riptides and dangerous currents from North Carolina to Maine.
Meanwhile, a new tropical depression spotted in the central Atlantic could strengthen into a tropical storm by Tuesday, according to the NHC. If so, it would be named Cristobal, the third named storm of the six-month hurricane season, which began June 1.