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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Hurricane center still eyeing westbound Caribbean; forecast to become Tropical Storm Bonnie tonight – Orlando Sentinel

A westbound Caribbean disturbance still has poor organization but is still strongly suspected of becoming Tropical Storm Bonnie later today, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“If I just took a casual look at conventional satellite data, I would think the system was already a tropical storm,” said NHC hurricane specialist Eric Blake. “There is a big ball of convection near the center, along with banding features forming in most of the quadrants of the system. Microwave data, however, does not show much low-level structure, with only broad curvature and no obvious indications of a well-defined center.”

The National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. advisory Wednesday said heavy rains and tropical-storm-force winds are likely to begin late tonight for islands in the Southern Caribbean for what meteorologists call Potential Tropical Cyclone Two. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Hurricane Hunter aircraft confirmed the system has is not yet gained the organization to be classified as a tropical storm and doesn’t have a center of circulation.

The system is located about 185 miles east-southeast of Curacao, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph moving west at 30 mph, as of the 8 a.m. update. While the system has remained unorganized, hurricane specialists suspect that could change in the next 12 hours.

“One reason the system has been unable to close off a circulation so far is the very rapid speed,” Blake said. But models show the disturbance stabilizing in the evening. Then, the system should hold off from intensifying for two days. By Friday, it could jump in strength again, Blake said.

As of 8 a.m., a Tropical Storm Warning is in place for Trinidad and Tobago; Grenada and its dependencies; Venezuelan islands, Islas de Margarita, Coche, and Cubagua; and the islands of Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, and parts of the Venezuela and Colombia coasts.

The system has tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 60 miles from the system’s center. If it becomes named, it would be Tropical Storm Bonnie. The NHC gives it a 90% chance for formation in the next five days.

“On the forecast track, the system will pass near the southern Caribbean Sea and the northern coast of Venezuela today, near the Guajira Peninsula of Colombia early Thursday, and over the southwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday,” the NHC.

Meteorologists are also keeping their eyes on two other disturbances with odds of becoming a tropical system.

An area of disturbance has increased its showers and thunderstorms overnight and over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. More development is possible, but the system currently remains disorganized. The NHC gives it a 40% chance of forming into a tropical system in the next two to five days as it slowly drifts west across the northern Gulf of Mexico and toward Texas.

“It could become a short-lived tropical depression near the coast before it moves inland,” the NHC said. “Regardless of development, heavy rain will be possible along portions of the Texas coast later this week.”

Also, a tropical wave over the central tropical Atlantic is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms. The wave is expected to come into contact with another tropical wave later this week and could develop. The NHC gave the wave a 10% chance of becoming a depression in the next two days and 30% in the next five days.

If any of the systems develop, they would be the season’s second system after Tropical Storm Alex, which dumped nearly a foot of rain over parts of Florida earlier this month.

After Bonnie, the next two names would be Colin and Danielle.

A tropical system could be named a tropical depression without growing to tropical-storm status. It doesn’t become named until the system has sustained winds of 39 mph and isn’t named a hurricane until it has sustained winds of 74 mph.

The 2022 season runs from June 1-Nov. 30 is predicted to be another above-normal year for storms following the 30 named storms of 2020 and 21 of 2021.

Jpedersen@orlandosentinel.com

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