A tropical disturbance in the Caribbean is showing better organization Wednesday afternoon and could soon be classified as Tropical Storm Bonnie later today, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“However, low-cloud movements from high-resolution visible satellite imagery and radar observations of Curaçao suggest that the system does not yet have a closed circulation,” said Richard Pasch, NHC hurricane specialist. “Some strengthening seems likely, but interaction with the South American landmass will likely limit intensification over the next day or so.”
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate this afternoon. It could very well identify a closed circulation and designate the disturbance as a tropical storm. Forecasts indicate that the storm will strengthen slightly, but without a powerful intensification until this weekend as it approaches the southwestern Caribbean, where the system could become the first hurricane of the season.
The 2 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center on Wednesday said heavy rain and tropical storm-force winds are likely to begin late tonight and into Thursday morning in the Windward Islands and parts of northern Venezuela and northern Colombia by what meteorologists call Potential Tropical Cyclone Two.
The system is located about 85 miles east-southeast of Curacao, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph moving west at 24 mph, as of the 2 pm update. While the system has remained disorganized, hurricane specialists suspect that could change in the next 12 hours.
“One of the reasons the system hasn’t been able to shut down traffic so far is because of the high speed,” Blake said. But the models show that the disturbance levels off at night. Then the system should avoid escalating for two days. By Friday, it could pick up steam again, Blake said.
As of 2 pm, there is a Tropical Storm Warning for Trinidad and Tobago; Granada and its dependencies and parts of the Colombian coasts. As it continues west, the system is expected to be near or over Nicaragua on Friday night.
The system has tropical storm force winds extending outward up to 60 miles from the center of the system. If given a name, it would be Tropical Storm Bonnie. The NHC gives you a 90% chance of training in the next five days.
“On the forecast track, the system will pass near the southern Caribbean Sea and the northern coast of Venezuela today, near Colombia’s Guajira Peninsula early Thursday, and over the southwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday,” the NHC said.
Forecasters are also watching for two other disturbances likely to develop into a tropical system.
An area of disturbance has increased showers and thunderstorms overnight and over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Further development is possible, but the system currently remains disorganized. The NHC gives it a 40% chance of becoming a tropical system in the next two to five days as it slowly moves west across the northern Gulf of Mexico and into Texas. It is expected to move into Texas on Thursday.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft was deployed to further investigate the disturbance.
“It could become a short-lived tropical depression near the coast before it moves inland,” the NHC said. “Regardless of development, heavy rain will be possible along portions of the Texas coast later this week.”
Additionally, a tropical wave over the central tropical Atlantic is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms. The wave is expected to contact 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 a 30% chance in the next five days.
If either system develops, it would be the second system of the season after Tropical Storm Alex, which dumped nearly a foot of rain over parts of Florida earlier this month.
After Bonnie, the next two names would be Colin and Danielle.
A tropical system might be called a tropical depression without reaching tropical storm status. It is not named until the system has sustained winds of 39 mph and it is not named a hurricane until it has sustained winds of 74 mph.
The 2022 season runs from June 1 to November 1. The 30th is forecast to be another above-normal year for storms after the 30 named storms of 2020 and 21 of 2021.