Tropical Storm Bonnie has formed in the Atlantic basin this afternoon. Surface winds are now a sustained 40mph and the system is organizing itself more and more every hour.
T.S. Bonnie’s center is located near 22.7N, 75.4W; has maximum sustained winds fo 40mph; is moving NW @ 13mph and has a central pressure of 1006mb.
Bonnie has deep convection near the west side of her center. Outflow is looking better in most quadrants. She is still battling a strong upper-level low to her west, which has kept high vertical wind shear and dry air near Bonnie. The storm’s center moved around during the day, resulting in some adjustment to the specific location of her probably future track. The direction of her track will likely remain toward the NW/WNW, but is somewhat further north than it was earlier today. As a result, Bonnie could pass closer to mainland Florida tomorrow afternoon before entering the Gulf of Mexico. The official track still calls for a likely landfall near LA later this weekend (Sunday or later).
Atlantic Basin Tropical Depression #3 has formed between the Bahamas and Cuba today. The tropical wave that eventually developed a closed surface circulation has been moving across the Atlantic basin this week. Heavy bursts of intense convection occurred the past three days as the wave passed along the northern Caribbean islands.
Given local weather features, T.D. 3 should intensify into a Tropical Storm later today but not intensify into a hurricane before making landfall somewhere along the U.S. Gulf coast (next week?).
T.D. 3 will move through the Florida Strait (between FL & Cuba), likely right over the Florida Keys, entering the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow. Thereafter, forecast models project a track envelope extending from southwest of Houston to south of New Orleans (~3 days from now). The official track forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows the storm making landfall closer to the Lake Charles area. While T.D. 3 (then T.S. Bonnie) won’t be a monster storm like Katrina or Rita, the projected tracks take the storm very close to the site of the Gulf Oil Disaster. Work near the disaster site has been halted while officials confer on what the course of action should be as the storm evolves.
An Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter is on its way to the storm to gather additional data. We will know later today whether T.D. 3 has intensified to T.D. Bonnie or not.