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Hurricane watchers keep eye on Bertha

Tropical Storm Bertha has formed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa.

As of Thursday evening, the center of the storm was located about 105 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

The second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season was moving toward the west-northwest at about 12 mph, and forecasters expected that to continue for the next couple of days.

Maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph. Some gradual strengthening was forecast during the next day or two.

But experts said it was still too early to say if or where Bertha would hit land.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center in May projected between a dozen and 16 named storms, including two to five major hurricanes (those above Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale of storm strength). As Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Katrina proved, all it takes is one storm, and one inadequately prepared community, to turn any kind of hurricane season into something catastrophic.

The first named storm this year, Arthur, formed in the Atlantic the day before the season officially started June 1 and soaked the Yucatan Peninsula.

Pacific storm dying

In the Pacific, meanwhile, Tropical Storm Douglas weakened to a depression off Mexico's coast Thursday and was forecast to die at sea.

After forming in the Pacific on Wednesday, Douglas was located about 195 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula.

The storm was expected to turn west and die out at sea by today after hitting cooler waters, forecasters said.

Meanwhile, Former hurricane Boris weakened to a tropical storm far out in the Pacific and was expected to become a remnant.

Tropical Storm Cristina dissipated without reaching land at the end of June.

The first tropical storm of the eastern Pacific season, Alma, brought heavy wind and rain to parts of Nicaragua. The New York Times contributed.

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