HomeWorld NewsTropical Storm Bonnie forms and heads towards Central America

Tropical Storm Bonnie forms and heads towards Central America

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The disturbance that forecasters have tracked for more than a week as it crosses the Atlantic and the Caribbean has finally earned a name. The National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Bonnie formed at 11 a.m. Friday about 195 miles east-southeast of Nicaragua.

The storm is heading west at 20 mph and is expected to make landfall near the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border Friday evening, where tropical storm warnings are in effect.

“Heavy rainfall is likely in parts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica today through Saturday. Areas of flash flooding and life-threatening mudslides are expected,” the National Hurricane Center wrote.

Bonnie is one of three monitoring tropical systems forecasters. A disturbance, which formed in the western Gulf of Mexico, has already moved across the upper coast of Texas and southwestern Louisiana. Although it did not organize enough to become a named storm, it dumped torrential rains north of Houston.

A third disturbance, hot on Bonnie’s heels, has a 10% chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm over the weekend. But it is expected to bring gusty showers from Friday to Saturday to the Windward Islands, which connect the Atlantic and the Caribbean.

Bonnie, the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, formed 16 days ahead of average. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a busier than normal season — with 14 to 21 named storms, including six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater). The Atlantic season generally peaks in late August and September.

Details on Tropical Storm Bonnie

Bonnie is a minimal tropical storm, with winds of 40 mph. The Hurricane Center predicts modest strengthening before landfall, when peak winds could reach 50 mph.

While such winds are rather gusty and can cause downed trees and power outages, the main danger is heavy rain as the storm moves through Central America.

The Hurricane Center is projecting 4 to 8 inches of rain and localized amounts up to a foot in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Bonnie could also generate a slight ocean wave – or a 1-3 foot rise of water above normally dry land nearby and just north of where its center touches land.

After sweeping across Central America, Bonnie is expected to emerge into the Pacific Ocean, where it is expected to gain strength and potentially become a hurricane early next week. However, it is not expected to threaten the land.

According to tropical meteorology researcher Phil Klotzbach, Bonnie is somewhat rare — among one of six named storms recorded to form in the Caribbean in July.

Texas-Louisiana tropical storm

Meanwhile, the disturbance that has formed over the western Gulf brings a threat of flooding from around Galveston, Texas to Lake Charles, Louisiana on Friday.

Flood watches cover this entire area throughout the afternoon or evening. By noon, the heaviest rains had moved north to Houston and Galveston, but were inundating the Golden Triangle region, which includes Beaumont and Port Arthur, where flash flood warnings are in effect until 3:45 p.m. .

“Between 4 and 8 inches of rain fell,” wrote the National Weather Service. “Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches are possible in the warned area. Flash flooding is already occurring with several reports of street flooding received from Port Arthur and surrounding areas.

The weather service issued a special bulletin warning that precipitation rates could sometimes exceed three inches per hour.

Radar showed torrential rain between Beaumont and Lake Charles at noon Friday, but forecast models predict the downpours will gradually subside in the evening.

While up to 8 inches had fallen in the Golden Triangle area, most areas of Houston had seen about a tenth of an inch. The rainfall skirted much of the Texas interior, which is experiencing extreme drought and unrelenting heat.

San Antonio had 17 triple-digit hot days in June. The norm is two.

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