Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Tropical Storm Bonnie could form ‘at any time’ Wednesday; 2 other systems still churning in Atlantic

Three systems are in the Atlantic right now but none is an imminent threat to South Florida and none appears poised to become a hurricane. The system in yellow is expected to hit wind shear before reaching the United States.  (National Hurricane Center/National Hurricane Center/TNS)
By Robin Webb, Angie DiMichele and Chris Perkins South Florida Sun Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Three storm systems are brewing in the Atlantic, one of which is likely to become Tropical Storm Bonnie “at any time” in the southeastern Caribbean and another could become a short-lived tropical depression near Texas, forecasters said Wednesday.

A third disturbance in the central Atlantic, which originated earlier this week off Africa’s west coast, is forecast to interact with a tropical wave and to approach the boundary between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea this weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

It is forecast to move west-northwest in the Atlantic and head in the general direction of South Florida.

However, it could hit storm-shredding wind shear and dissipate once it reaches the Caribbean, according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Walker.

“Vertical wind shear, which is not good for it as far as development, is expected to increase,” he said. “It’ll probably lose organization.”

Walker said conditions, for now, generally work against systems heading toward South Florida.

“I think it continues to be a case where these things continue to plow westward to the southern portion of the main development region (in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico) and toward the south Caribbean and South American coast, at least for a while here,” he said.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, its odds of developing had risen slightly to 30% over the next five days, up from 20% previously.

The long-range outlook could change but at this point it doesn’t appear the system will bring rain to South Florida next week, forecasters said.

Meanwhile, the system in the northern Gulf of Mexico is expected to approach the Texas coast or northeast Mexico by early Thursday . It’s possible it could become a tropical depression, but it would quickly lose that status once it moves over inland Texas or Mexico, the hurricane center said.

It has been given it a 40% chance of developing in the next two to five days.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter airplane is investigating the disturbance.

“The big thing with this system … is it’s going to be bringing heavy rain to portions of Texas, Louisiana and up into Oklahoma and Arkansas,” Walker said.

Meanwhile, the system expected to become Bonnie, currently known as Potential Tropical Cyclone Two, was located off Venezuela’s northern coast Wednesday and moving west.

Forecasters said the system could become Tropical Storm Bonnie “at any time today.”

A NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Hurricane Hunter airplane is scheduled to fly into the system Wednesday afternoon. The NHC said the disturbance could become a tropical storm at any time Wednesday.

The system is moving west at 24 mph and is located 85 miles southeast of Curacao with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

On the current forecast track, it will pass near the near the northern coast of Venezuela today, Colombia early Thursday, then over the southwestern Caribbean Thursday and Friday.

By Friday night, it is expected to be near or over Nicaragua, then will cross over Central America into the Pacific Ocean this weekend.

It is possible that its maximum sustained winds could reach up to 70 mph next week, according to the NHC, which would put at near-hurricane strength near northern Central America. Its maximum wind speeds are expected to drop sharply thereafter.

Walker said AccuWeather’s hurricane season outlook still seems on target for an above-average season even though there’s only been one named storm so far.

Tropical Storm Alex developed on June 5 and dissipated over the Atlantic Ocean about 48 hours later.

The next named storm to form after Bonnie would be called Colin.

Hurricane season runs June 1 through Nov. 30.