Friday, July 23, 2010

Tropical Storm Bonnie Update-Friday

I've not had much of a need to discuss the weather here because we've been stuck in a typical summer pattern: hot, hotter, and hottest! The Atlantic hurricane season has been fairly quite as well. The gulf coast was spared Hurricane Alex which made landfall along the Texas/Mexico border along with tropical depression #2. We all breathed a sigh of relief with both of those storms. Now we have Tropical Storm Bonnie which formed just off the Bahamian coast last night.
Bonnie will move over the Straits of Florida today brushing the Florida Keys. The fortunate part about Bonnie is she is a fairly compact storm. Bonnie will continue a westerly/northwesterly track and emerge in the Gulf of Mexico late tonight and Saturday. All computer model tracks have Bonnie staying along the southern end of the massive oil spill. The worst case scenario would be for Bonnie to strengthen to a hurricane, which doesn't look likely, and for the storm to move directly over the oil spill and move in the delta of the Mississippi River. Again, this doesn't look like it will be the case.

However, Bonnie will possibly make landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana sometime Saturday afternoon and evening. Even with this proposed landfall, high waves could wash over the oil booms. The oil could be pushed into the marshes, channels and estuaries and would remain there for quite a while, affecting wildlife and vegetation. The oil would also be pushed further onshore on to beaches.

On the flip side, some oceanographers believe wind gusts as high as 30 miles an hour could actually evaporate the oil slick faster and high waves could help break up the patches of scattered oil.

Here is the NHC's projected track. Keep in mind these can often fluctuate 90 miles or so east and west. What does this track mean for central Mississippi? High pressure over the southeast has prevented frontal systems from moving in and has kept us dry. This high pressure dome begins to relax over the weekend, which will allow for greater rain chances. Areas west of I-55 could receive 2-3 inches of rain Sunday-Monday. The remnants of Bonnie will continue northward into Louisiana and Arkansas, so the Mississippi Delta will get in on high rain chances into early next week.

I'll update this forecast on here Saturday.

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