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.
Forecasters say they expect some of the coldest temperatures of the winter season across north Georgia when arctic air moves into the region over the weekend, dropping temperatures to around 15 degrees in some parts of the mountains.
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