Tropical turbulence in the Caribbean shows better regulation Wednesday afternoon and could soon be classified as a Tropical Storm Bonnie, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“High-resolution visible satellite imagery indicates that the system may attempt to seal off a center south of the ABC Islands, but surface observations remain very inconclusive,” wrote Richard Bash, a senior hurricane specialist at the NHC. “Radar images from Curacao also do not show a specific center yet. The system could transition into a tropical cyclone at any time.”
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Airplane investigated the system Wednesday afternoon, but did not find it organized enough to label the disturbance as a tropical storm. Forecasts show slight storm strength, but no strong intensification until the end of this week as it approaches the southwestern Caribbean, where the system could become the first hurricane of the season.
Heavy rain and tropical storm winds are likely to occur through Thursday morning for the Windward Islands, parts of northern Venezuela and northern Colombia, the National Hurricane Center said at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The system is located approximately 55 miles west-southwest of Curacao, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph moving west at 21 mph, as of the 8 p.m. update. And while the system has remained disorganized, hurricane specialists suspect it may change over the next 12 hours.
“One of the reasons the system has been unable to shut down circulation so far is because the speed is too high,” said Eric Blake of the NHC. But models show the turbulence is stable in the evening. After that, the system should stop condensing for two days. By Friday, Blake said, he could be jumping again.
A tropical storm warning is in place for Trinidad and Tobago; Grenada and its dependencies and parts of the Colombian coast. As it continues west, the system is expected to be near or above Nicaragua on Friday night.
The system has tropical storm-force winds that extend outward up to 70 miles from the center of the system. If named, it would be Tropical Storm Bonnie. NHC gives it a 90% chance of forming in the next five days.
“On the expected trajectory, the system will pass … near the Guajira Peninsula in Colombia early Thursday and over the southwestern Caribbean Sea later Thursday and Friday,” NHC said.
Meteorologists are also watching for two other disturbances that have potential to become a tropical system.
The turbulence zone increased rainfall and thunderstorms overnight and over the northwest Gulf of Mexico. Further development is possible, but the system is currently still unregulated. The NHC gives it a 40% chance of forming in a tropical system in the next two to five days as it slowly drifts westward through the northern Gulf of Mexico and toward Texas. It is expected to move inside Texas Thursday.
An Air Force Reserve aircraft from Hurricane Hunter was deployed to investigate and showed that the system was poorly organized.
“Some slow developments are still possible and could become a short-lived tropical depression near the coast before turning northwest and moving inland over Texas later on Thursday. Regardless of development, heavy rain is likely on parts of the Texas coast during the days the next few.
Also, a tropical wave over the tropical mid-Atlantic Ocean produces unregulated showers and thunderstorms. The wave is expected to touch 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 are developed, it would be the second system of the season after Tropical Storm Alex, which dumped nearly one foot of rain over parts of Florida earlier this month.
After Bonnie, the next names will be Colin and Danielle.
A tropical system can be called a tropical depression without becoming a tropical storm condition. It was not named until the system withstands winds of 39 mph and was not named a hurricane until it withstands winds of 74 mph.
The 2022 season runs from June 1 to November. The year is expected to be another 30 years above normal for storms following the 30 designated storms for 2020 and 21 of 2021.
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