As of 11 a.m. EDT, Tropical Depression #3 has formed, and Bonnie may be soon to follow once the U.S. Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft thoroughly investigates the depression this afternoon. The center of circulation is 265 miles southeast of Nassau, Bahamas, and the system is tracking west-northwest at 15 mph. TD #3 should accelerate during the next two days. Maximum sustained winds are about 35 mph with higher gusts, and with further strengthening possible today, this system should become Tropical Storm Bonnie later Thursday. The same broad ridge of high pressure that is currently bringing a heat wave to the Southeast U.S. and into Virginia is going to steer TD#3 to the west-northwest over the Florida Keys and into the Gulf of Mexico into this weekend. Tropical Storm force winds have been reported in the southeastern Bahamas, and should affect the rest of the Bahama Islands through Friday. South Florida will be impacted by TD#3 starting Friday with several inches of rainfall and gusty winds. As much as five to six inches of rain is possible in south Florida. Storm surge in the low-lying Bahamas and Florida Keys may raise water levels as much as two feet above ground level.
This map shows the blue highlighted locations now in a Tropical Storm Warning including south Florida. The yellow on the southeast Florida Atlantic coast is a Tropical Storm Watch.
The track provided here by the National Hurricane Center is in line with the morning's model forecast tracks I showed you in my previous blog posting. Tropical Depression #3 may be Tropical Storm Bonnie as it tracks over the Gulf oil spill region over the weekend.