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Tropical Storm Bertha Makes Brief but Messy Visit to South Carolina

This GOES-16 satellite image taken May 27, 2020, at 11:40 UTC and provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Bertha approaching the South Carolina coast. (NOAA via AP)

Tropical Storm Bertha made a brief and unexpected visit to the southeastern U.S. coast Wednesday, soaking Charleston, South Carolina, and nearby beaches with heavy rains and gusty winds but causing no major damage.

Bertha surprised forecasters by forming off the coast, making landfall and moving inland in just two hours — about the same time it takes to watch a movie.

As of Wednesday evening, Bertha was downgraded to a tropical depression and was expected to drench parts of North Carolina and southwestern Virginia before turning into what forecasters call a remnant low — the leftovers of what had been a tropical weather system.

Bertha was the second named storm of what forecasters say will be an exceptionally busy Atlantic hurricane season. The season officially begins June 1 and lasts until November 30, but two storms have already made landfall. Tropical Storm Arthur hit North Carolina earlier this month.

Forecasters predict as many as 19 named storms this year with up to 10 building into hurricanes. Six could become major hurricanes — a Category 3 or higher.