Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tropical Storm Bonnie forms; head towards oil

Tropical Storm Bonnie formed last night in the Caribbean amongst the islands of the Bahamas. The storm has 40 MPH sustained winds and is expected to remain a tropical storm as it crosses into the Gulf of Mexico. Some strengthening may occur in the Gulf but as of now Bonnie is not expected to become a hurricane.



Currently Bonnie is passing through the Bahamas affecting areas that have a high tourist and resident population.So far there is no damage but the concern is that as the storm passes through more heavily populated areas that people in those areas need to maintain vigilance.

Tropical Storm Bonnie moving toward oil spill (Associated Press)

NASSAU, Bahamas — Tropical Storm Bonnie steamed through the central Bahamas on Thursday night while tracking a course that could take it over the site of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Rain and lightning raked the low-lying Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas, and forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm could reach the Gulf of Mexico by Saturday.

On Thursday night, Bonnie had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), and was centered about 165 miles (265 kilometers) southeast of the Bahamian capital of Nassau and was approaching the northwestern Bahamas.

On Friday, the center of Bonnie was expected to pass near or over the Florida Keys and part of the southern Florida peninsula. U.S. forecasters said slow strengthening of the storm was possible during the next 48 hours.

Capt. Stephen Russell, director of the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency, said there were no reports of major damage, flooding or injuries on islands in the southeastern and central Bahamas already passed by the storm. The storm wasn't yet clear of the most heavily populated islands in the northeast, including New Providence and Grand Bahama.

"We are advising everyone to remain vigilant throughout the night and early morning when the storm exits the Bahamas," Russell said.

The bigger concern is Bonnie's approach to the Gulf oil spill. As Bonnie reaches the central Gulf, the wind will force oil away from land and out into the Gulf. If oil reaches the Loop Current, then it could be carried around Florida and onto the eastern seaboard. CNN International reported this morning that a strong eddy current exists in the central Gulf that would contain the oil and prevent it from reaching the Loop Current.

Then as the storm progresses, the oil will be first pushed to the west and then to the north back towards land. Computer models are currently showing the potential paths for this storm range essentially across the entire coastline of Louisiana (and a little bit of southeast Texas) with the most likely location for landfall occurring in southwest Louisiana near Cameron Parish.

Louisiana's Governor Jindal is asking residents to prepare for a Category 1 hurricane even though the storm is not expected to reach that strength. The idea, as we have stated int eh blog many times is to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

State Preps for Tropical Storm Bonnie

Governor Bobby Jindal says to prepare for a category one hurricane. He's declared a state of emergency as a storm threatens to hit coast on Sunday.

"You've heard me say this many times over hurricane seasons.. Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst." Governor Bobby Jindal is prepping for the possible landfall of Tropical Storm Bonnie. Experts don't expect anything more than a tropical storm at most. Still, it's too soon to tell. "So I think it would be prudent to at least look and get ready as if we are getting ready for a category one hurricane," says Jindal.

Projected landfall is Sunday and it's not slowing down. "On the good side, it's moving quickly. On the bad side, it's spending more time over the water," says Jindal.

At the oil spill site -- six to eight feet are expected with 40 mile per hour winds. Jindal says local leaders will make the decision to evacuate people in low lying areas outside of levee protection. At least seven Southwest Louisiana parishes are declaring a state of emergency.

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