July 23rd, 2010
10:36 AM ET

Bonnie crossing Florida toward Gulf

[Update 12:15 p.m.] Strong winds hit southern Florida late Friday morning as Tropical Storm Bonnie made landfall near Biscayne Bay in southeastern Florida. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

The tropical storm watch for the northern Gulf of Mexico coast has been upgraded to a tropical storm warning.

The warning area now includes the northwestern Bahamas, the southeast coast of Florida, including the Keys, the west coast of Florida as far north as Englewood and from Destin, Florida, to Morgan City, Louisiana.

"No important change in strength is forecast while Bonnie is crossing the Florida peninsula," the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. advisory. "However ... some slight strengthening is possible when the cyclone moves over the Gulf of Mexico late tonight and Saturday."

Bonnie is expected to drop about 1 to 3 inches of rain over south Florida, with up to 5 inches in isolated areas.

[Original post] South Florida expected heavy squalls Friday morning as Tropical Storm Bonnie neared the coastline, the National Hurricane Center said. Bonnie remained a minimal tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. ET advisory.

The storm is moving toward the west-northwest at 19 mph and is centered 75 miles east of Marathon, Florida, and 80 miles south-southeast of Miami, Florida.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the northwestern Bahamas and the Florida east coast from Deerfield Beach southward, including the Florida Keys and Florida Bay. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the west coast of Florida as far north as Englewood. A tropical storm warning for the central Bahamas was canceled early Friday morning.

If Bonnie maintains its current strength as it emerges into the Gulf of Mexico, only slight intensification is likely before it makes landfall early Sunday along the Louisiana coast, the hurricane center said. It predicts its maximum sustained winds will reach only 50 mph over the Gulf.

But Bonnie is expected to hamper operations to contain the oil spilled by a broken well in the Gulf through Sunday evening and into early Monday, even if it weakens into a depression or tropical wave. The system will generate very choppy seas and gusty winds as it moves near or over the well on Saturday and Sunday.

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Filed under: Florida • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • U.S. • Weather
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