Tropical Storm Bertha formed in the far eastern Atlantic on Thursday morning. The storm is packing sustained winds of 40 mph which makes it a minimal tropical storm. The last hurricane to hit Eastern North Carolina in July was Hurricane Bertha in 1996 when it hit the coast near Topsail Beach with winds of 105 mph. That year Bertha was followed by Category 3 Fran and Tropical Storm Josephine. Each of these storms brought heavy rainfall to our section of the state. This year our state faces a significant drought and most areas could use a soaking rainfall. Of course, it is far too early to determine the future path of this Bertha but we are now into the time of the year when we must watch each storm closely.