The 'fairly active' summer storm is forecast to head for the UK over the next week

A Hurricane called Bertha, which is currently in the Caribbean, could head towards Europe over the next week, the Met Office has warned.

Bertha is currently close to the Bahamas. Forecast

tracks for the storm suggest it will head north, staying offshore from

the eastern coast of the US before turning to track east across the

Atlantic.

While all forecast models suggest the storm will head in the general

direction of UK and continental Europe, there remains a lot of

uncertainty about exactly what it will do.

One certainty is that as the storm heads north away from the very

warm seas which drive its power, it will lose strength and become what’s

known as an extra-tropical storm – so we won’t be seeing a ‘hurricane

in Europe’, but there is a chance we could see a fairly active summer

storm.

The development of hurricanes and extra tropical storms can present

complexities for meteorologists, and Bertha is a good example of that.

Mixed forecasts

The Met Office uses several world-leading forecast models as

well as its own, and this gives an indication of how certain a forecast

is. If all the models agree, there’s higher certainty, if they diverge,

we know the atmosphere is finely balanced and there are several possible

outcomes.

In the case of Bertha each of the models we use gives a very

different picture of what the storm will do. This ranges from Bertha

heading towards France as a weak feature which will completely miss the

UK, to it arriving as a fairly active summer storm.

In terms of timing, there’s also a spread of possibilities – but it

looks likely that the earliest Bertha would affect the UK would be on

Sunday or into the start of next week.

As time progresses, different models normally come more in to line

with each other and uncertainty decreases. The Met Office will be

keeping an eye on how this situation develops over the next few days to

give everyone in the UK the best advice on what Bertha is likely to do.

Given the time of year and the potential heavy rain, strong winds and

large waves Bertha could bring if it does head to the UK, sailors are advised to stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings from the Met Office over the next few days.

See the forecast track for Bertha and other tropical storms on The Met Office StormTracker pages.

Picture: The forecast track for Hurricane Bertha. Credit: The Met Office

A satellite image of Bertha in the Caribbean taken at 11.45am on Monday, 4 August 2014. Credit: NOAA