July 22, 2010


The Atlantic system is threatening to become Tropical Storm Bonnie. Southeast Florida could see rain and gusty winds as early as Thursday night. and could bring rain to Tampa Bay early Friday as it moves toward the Gulf of Mexico.

The wave could become a tropical storm or depression at any time Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane experts gave it a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm by Saturday morning.

It was bringing rain and thunderstorms to the southeast Bahamas early Thursday, moving west-northwest at 10 to 15 knots. The wave became more organized as surface pressures dropped and showers increased overnight.

Computer models show the wave moving toward Cuba and extreme South Florida on Friday before hitting the Gulf this weekend. A NOAA Hurricane Hunter flight is scheduled to investigate the wave Thursday afternoon.

Coast Guard officials warned Wednesday that oil spill cleanup efforts could be stalled if the system developed into a tropical storm headed for Louisiana. "Any operations out there will have to be suspended," said Thad Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral overseeing the cleanup.

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