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US East Coast Faces Rough Surf as Bertha Passes By

While the United States will escape a direct hit from Tropical Storm Bertha, increased surf and the threat of rip currents will still develop along the East Coast this week.

Bertha will continue to spend Sunday impacting the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas with 2 to 4 inches of locally flooding rain and isolated damaging wind gusts.

Beyond the weekend, Bertha will turn to the north and then northeast into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean and away from the United States.

That does not mean that the beaches of the U.S. East Coast will escape impacts from the bypassing storm.

"Bertha will stay far away from a direct hit on the United States, but beachgoers along the East Coast should prepare for dangerous surf and rip currents early this week," stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Andy Mussoline.

The combination of Bertha and another weather disturbance will lead to the rough surf and the rip current danger along the Atlantic beaches from Florida to North Carolina Monday and Tuesday.

The rough surf and rip current risk will begin to spread to the mid-Atlantic beaches later Tuesday before stretching from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to southeastern Massachusetts on Wednesday. This includes the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

"Beachgoers should pay close attention to local warnings and talk to their lifeguards about water conditions," Mussoline continued.

Remember to swim parallel to the coast if you become caught in a rip current.

While the surf hazards are present, showers and thunderstorms will also create headaches for residents and visitors wanting to enjoy a beach day.

Bertha will remain a minimal tropical storm through the end of the weekend but is expected to strengthen through the first part of the new week. The window will even open for Bertha to become a Category 1 hurricane by midweek.

Dry air, disruptive wind shear (winds that can shred apart tropical systems) and the mountainous islands of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola have hindered Bertha's ability to strengthen since late last week. That will change as the new week begins.

As Bertha strengthens, waves will build and swells will further expand from its center and impact the United States.

Surf will subside along the East Coast later in the week as Bertha heads into northern Atlantic and loses its tropical characteristics. AccuWeather.com meteorologists will be monitoring the potential for some rain and wind to clip southeastern Newfoundland on Thursday.

Those on Bermuda may also notice an increase in showers and thunderstorms Wednesday through Thursday.

While Bertha is tracking through the Atlantic, Super Typhoon Halong is taking aim at Japan in the western Pacific Basin.

Low Hurricane Count for June, July Not Uncommon

The relatively quiet Atlantic tropical season so far in 2014 is not that uncommon, reported AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. Although the season officially begins on June 1, the most active period does not really get going until mid-August. It is during August and early September, when the waters across the Atlantic are the warmest, and typically, the dry air and wind shear taper off.

Stef Davis and Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno explain the ebb and flow of the hurricane season in the video below:

AccuWeather is forecasting a slightly below-average number of tropical storms and hurricanes this season in the Atlantic.