Wind shear has kept Bonnie from becoming a hurricane, and it made landfall near Apalachicola, FL today at noon eastern time as a tropical storm. A Tropical Storm Warning is still in effect for much of the FL panhandle. At 15Z today, TS Bonnie was located at 29.5N 85.2W and moving NE at 24kts. Intensity was 45kts and 1002mb. It will continue on a NE track and pass over the eastern seaboard states, from GA up to NY, passing over central VA on Friday morning, eastern PA midday Friday, and eastern NY Friday evening. Although it will be making the extratropical transition shortly, it will still be potent system and has the potential to drop heavy rain along its entire track. Charley skimmed by Jamaica yesterday, and passed between the Cayman Islands this morning, and around that time, developed an eye. Actually, the eye was first seen in microwave imagery about 24 hours ago, but it only became a cloud-top feature in the VIS and IR this morning. It is approaching western Cuba, and will be passing over VERY high heat content (combination of ocean depth and temperature). As of 15Z, the strong CAT1 hurricane was at 19.7N 81.2W and tracking NW at 15kts. Aircraft-measured intensity was 80kts and 983mb. Since that fix, the storm has visually gotten much better organized, and is most likely a CAT2 by now. Hurricane Warnings are on for the Cayman Islands, western Cuba, the FL Keys, and the western FL peninsula up to Charlotte Harbor, then a Hurricane Watch picks up there northward to about Cedar Key. Landfall is expected on Isla de Pinos, Cuba this evening, mainland Cuba tonight, and the Tampa, FL area late Friday afternoon. Given the positive environmental factors, Charley should be taken very seriously as it could be a major hurricane at Florida landfall... in a populated area of the coast. I suspect that evacuation orders should be commencing today in the Tampa area. You can view a detailed Evacuation Map of the likely landfall area here: http://www2.sptimes.com/pdfs/hurricanemaps/2004/hurr-map-hill.pdf To make matters worse, Charley's track should be nearly identical to Bonnie's over the eastern states. The storm should pass over central VA midday Saturday, eastern PA on Sunday morning, and eastern NY midday Sunday. Clearly this could mean MAJOR inland flooding. http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/wwa/ shows the current Watches and Warnings. Besides the obvious Hurricane Watches and Warnings spanning most of FLorida, Flood and Flash Flood Watches extend from FL all the way up to PA and NJ. In addition, Tornado Watches have been issued in FL, GA, SC, and NC. Elsewhere, a very strong tropical wave with an embedded 1008mb Low has just exited the African coast and tracking W at 15kts. It already looks quite impressive with an obvious mid-level circulation. The Low is at about 12N 18W.
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