11 August 2004

The Dynamic Duo, Bonnie and Charley, take aim on Florida...

Bonnie is still small, but gradually getting stronger as it heads toward
the FL coast.  At 21Z today, TS Bonnie was at 26.7N 89.3W and heading NE
at 10kts.  Intensity is 55kts and 1001mb.  The storm is being sheared
from the west, but is also over the amply warm SSTs in the Gulf

A Hurricane Watch and Tropical Storm Warning are in effect for the
extreme western FL panhandle.  A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the
rest of the FL panhandle and northern parts of the western peninsula. 
Landfall is expected midday Thursday near Apalachicola as a minimal
hurricane.  Again, since Bonnie is so small, it will respond rapidly to
changes in the environment, good or bad.  This leaves the door open for
rapid intensification offshore which is particularly dangerous because
of the element of surprise.  The long-range track still takes the storm
over the eastern seaboard then up into the northeast states including
PA, NJ, and NY (it would be a weak Depression or totally dissipated by
then, but still carries the threat of inland flooding, a la Agnes '72 -

Charley has continued to organize as it moves quickly across the
Caribbean.  Early this morning, aircraft recon found a closed eyewall,
and a few hours later at 18Z, was upgraded to Hurricane Charley, the
second of the season.  The satellite presentation is very impressive,
now sporting a ragged eye in the VIS and IR as well.  As of 21Z,
Hurricane Charley was located at 17.0N 77.5W and moving WNW at 15kts. 
Maximum sustained winds are 65kts and the minimum sea-level pressure
(MSLP) is 993mb.

A Hurricane Warning has been issued for the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. 
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for western Cuba, the Florida Keys, and
the southern portions of the western FL peninsula up to Fort Myers.  The
eye will pass very near Jamaica this afternoon, and could temporarily
weaken it as it interacts with the mountainous terrain there.  However,
the longer-range forecast is for continued strengthening, and recurving
in the Gulf, heading for the FL peninsula, somewhere in the Fort Myers
to Tampa area midday Friday.  After that, the track may follow closely
in Bonnie's footprints, riding northward along the eastern seaboard and
into the northeast states.  If this scenario verifies, states from FL to
NY could be looking ahead to very significant flooding by then end of
the weekend.

IF Bonnie reaches hurricane strength, that would make the first three
named storms all hurricanes as well.  The last time that happened was in
1992 (Andrew, Bonnie, and Charley, coincidentally).  There was a
Subtropical Storm before Andrew though, and although not named then, it
would be now based on changed naming conventions.  The last time without
exception was 1983 with Alicia, Barry, and Chantal.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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