Slow-moving tropical storm nears Bermuda - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Slow-moving tropical storm nears Bermuda

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Posted: Sunday, July 13, 2008 11:20 pm | Updated: 10:57 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

HAMILTON, Bermuda - Bertha weakened Sunday into a tropical storm as it hovered near Bermuda, but forecasters say it might still deal a glancing blow to the Atlantic island.

Bertha's outer bands were expected to brush the island in the coming days.

Over the weekend, most tourists chose to hang out in pools and walk along the beach instead of battle the storm-whipped surf and rip currents along Bermuda's southern coast. Signs were posted announcing that beaches are closed.

"You can go out and swim if you like, but lifeguards will not come out and get you," said Darnell Joell, a bartender at Coco Reef resort.

Lifeguards at Horseshoe Beach blocked the shoreline with bright red tape and turned tourists away. Many lingered, however, taking pictures of the crashing waves.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm's maximum sustained winds decreased to near 65 miles per hour. Bertha was centered about about 180 miles southeast of Bermuda.

The center said Bertha was moving northwest at about 2 miles per hour. The center of the storm is expected to pass slowly not far to the southeast and east of Bermuda, dumping 2-4 inches of rain on the island. The center's hurricane tracking map showed Bertha sideswiping Bermuda on Monday, a day later than earlier forecasts.

Many tourists were largely unconcerned.

"It's not really going to hit that hard," said Eilif Kenny, 21, who was visiting from Ireland. "If it was ... I'd be under the bed."

Bertha became the Atlantic season's first hurricane on July 7 and has vacillated between a Category 1 and 2 storm.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Elida swirled off Mexico's Pacific coast, about 250 miles (405 kilometers) southwest of Acapulco.

The hurricane center said Elida was headed farther out to sea. It had sustained winds of nearly 65 mph (100 kph) on Sunday morning and was traveling west-northwest at 16 mph (26 kph).

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