Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Eyeing a new storm

The National Hurricane Center on Tuesday gave a tropical wave drenching Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Virgin Islands a better-than-even chance of building into Tropical Storm Bonnie.

Its current west-northwest path, which forecasters expect to continue for several days, would bring strong winds and heavy rain toward Florida by late Thursday.
Computer models forecast it crossing anywhere from Cuba to Central Florida.

The path ahead wasn’t ideal, but atmospheric conditions had improved enough to give the system a high probability, 60 percent, of becoming at least a depression and potentially a tropical storm over the next few days, the center said.

“We’re not expecting the system to quickly develop,” said John Cangialosi, a hurricane specialist at the center.
“It’s favorable enough to gain some additional strength.”

The wave, which at 2 p.m. was about 850 miles east-southeast of Miami, had grown better organized during the day, with some outer rain bands beginning to show signs of curving, Cangialosi said.

There also were signs that some lower-level circulation was beginning to build, a sign of tropical storm formation.

The center was planning to dispatch hurricane hunter planes Wednesday to assess the system.

Here's the latest computer model map from Weatherunderground.com:

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