Tropical Storm Bertha continues to slowly gain strength as she heads westward in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean. Bertha formed on Thursday just south of the Cape Verde Islands. The storm is expected to maintain a WNW track through the weekend taking it well north of the Leeward Islands by the middle of next week. At this point it is far too early to tell whether the system will impact the United States. However easterly swells along the East Coast could be felt by the middle of the week depending of the track and strength of the storm. July hurricanes rarely impact Eastern North Carolina but a previous Hurricane Bertha did hit the area in 1996 making it the strongest July storm to hit our area in the last century.