Tropical Storm Bonnie hits Central America
Potential Tropical Cyclone 2 (PTC 2) reached its potential on Friday morning, bringing high winds and heavy rains and developing into Tropical Storm Bonnie, the second named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.
PTC 2 spent a record-long period of time as a potential tropical cyclone: The National Hurricane Center issued 15 six-hourly advisories on the system, beating the previous record of 10 advisories set by PTC 1 (which eventually became Tropical Storm Alex) in June, reported Yale Climate Connections.
However, Bonnie had difficulty developing thanks to the strong climatological resistance to early-season tropical cyclones forming in the Caribbean.
As of 11 a.m. EDT Friday, Bonnie was located 195 miles east-southeast of Bluefields, Nicaragua, speeding west at 20 mph with top winds of 40 mph and a central pressure of 1005 mb.
On Friday morning, Bonnie brought heavy rain showers and winds gusting up to 43 mph to Colombia’s San Andres Island, located a few hundred miles east of the coast of Nicaragua.
Satellite images Friday afternoon showed Bonnie was slowly growing more organized, with an increase in low-level spiral bands and heavy thunderstorms.
The atmospheric and oceanic conditions around Bonnie will favor strengthening through landfall on Friday night near the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border: light wind shear (below 10 knots), warm ocean temperatures of 82°F, and a moist mid level atmosphere (relative humidity 70 percent).
Bonnie is likely to make landfall as a medium-strength tropical storm with 50 mph winds, heavy rains of 4-8 inches expected, and possible flash flooding. The storm will likely cross Central America and become a tropical storm or hurricane in the eastern Pacific by early next week.
Furthermore, a tropical wave entering the Lesser Antilles Islands on Friday afternoon was moving west-northwest at 10-15 mph. Satellite images showed that this wave was quite disorganized, and is headed into an area of high wind shear that will make development unlikely.
Whilst the 2022 hurricane season is expected to be “above-average”, a quiet period appears to be in store for the Atlantic for at least a week after Bonnie exits, with none of the reliable forecast models predicting new activity.