MIAMI (AP) -- Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and other nearby islands as Tropical Storm Bertha approaches the Caribbean.<br />
The storm's maximum sustained winds early Friday are near 45 mph (75 kph) with no significant change in strength expected over the next two days.<br />
In addition to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, tropical storm warnings are in effect for Babados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Vieques and Culebra. A tropical storm watch is in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.<br />
Bertha is centered about 170 miles (270 kilometers) east of Barbados and is moving west-northwest near 20 mph (31 kph).<br />
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Bertha is expected to pass near or north of Barbados Friday afternoon.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.