Bermuda Issues Tropical Storm Warning as Hurricane Bertha Nears

Bermuda is preparing for heavy rains and wind this weekend as Hurricane Bertha sputtered across the Atlantic.

The Bermuda Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning Saturday morning and the outer bands of Bertha threatened to sideswipe the island on Sunday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm was barely a Category 1 hurricane and was slowly chugging north. The storm remained mostly stationary on Saturday, and even forecasters hit a lull: "After a week or so ... I am running out of things to say about Bertha," read one official report.

Most tourists chose to hang out in pools and walk along the beach instead of battle the stronger surf and rip currents along Bermuda's southern coast. Signs have been 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.

David Nardella, who was visiting from Ohio, remained on the beach with his wife and young son.

"Hurricanes are fun," he said. "We're not hoping for a direct hit, but I'm hoping that as a 5-year-old, Ryan can understand hurricanes aren't always bad if you are safe enough."

On Saturday evening, Bertha was centered about 215 miles southeast of Bermuda and had maximum sustained winds of about 75 mph with some higher gusting.

The storm is expected to pass well east of Bermuda, although any inclination toward the west would create stronger winds. Bermuda will likely receive up to 2 inches of rain over the weekend.

Rain had already started falling at Elbow Beach by midday on Saturday, driving tourists away.

But many remained largely unconcerned.

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

Some hotel owners recommended that their guests visit beaches along the north coast, where waters are calmer.

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 formed off Mexico's Pacific coast Saturday.

The hurricane center says Elida, the fifth tropical storm of the Pacific season, has sustained winds of nearly 45 mph, with higher gusts.

On Saturday afternoon, Elida was located about 235 miles south of Acapulco and was traveling west-northwest at near 17 mph.

The center said Elida could become a hurricane late Sunday or Monday, but is expected to remain well south of the Mexican coast over the next two days.

Click here for maps, forecasts and satellite images at the National Hurricane Center.

Click here to track the storm.