Bonnie barely alive

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:58 PM GMT on July 24, 2010

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Tropical Depression Bonnie is barely clinging to life. Wind shear of 25 knots and dry air from an upper-level low pressure system over the Gulf of Mexico are taking their toll on Bonnie, which is now just a swirl of low clouds accompanied by a small clump of heavy thunderstorms on the north side of the center of circulation. These thunderstorms are now visible on New Orleans long range radar, and will arrive in coastal Louisiana early this afternoon, well ahead of the center. The Hurricane Hunters are in Bonnie, and have found a much weaker storm with top winds of just 30 mph.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Tropical Depression Bonnie. At the time, Bonnie had sustained winds of 30 mph.

Forecast for Bonnie
The current NHC forecast for Bonnie looks good, with the storm making landfall in Louisiana near 9pm CDT Saturday night. According to the latest tide information, this will be near the time of low tide. This will result in much less oil entering the Louisiana marshlands than occurred during Hurricane Alex in June. That storm brought a storm surge of 2 - 4 feet and sustained winds of 20 - 30 mph that lasted for several days, including several high tide cycles. Bonnie will be lucky to be a tropical depression at landfall, and should only create a storm surge of 1 - 2 feet that will come at low tide. This will result in a storm tide level that will inundate land to at most one foot above ground level.

Resources for the BP oil disaster
Map of oil spill location from the NOAA Satellite Services Division
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
NOAA's interactive mapping tool to overlay wind and ocean current forecasts, oil locations, etc.
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

Elsewhere in the tropics
There are no other threat areas of concern today. The only model calling for possible tropical development in the next week is the NOGAPS model, which predicts a strong tropical disturbance could form off the coast of Nicaragua in the Southwest Caribbean about a week from now.

Next update
The next updates will be by wunderground meteorologists Rob Carver and Shaun Tanner. I'm taking advantage of a break in the tropical action to take a few days away. I'll be back blogging on Friday, at the latest.

Jeff Masters

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1081. Levi32
Quoting MechEngMet:
1036 Levi: Ah yes Elena. I also recall Juan, Georges, Ike, Ghustov, and others. Andrew was a particularly terrifying close call.

I remember Ivan quite well. Evacuated, but he took a turn East. Then he came back about a week later, after a trip across the East coast and back through FL, for a second attempt at us. Man that was a persistent storm...


Yeah Ivan would have been bad but it was impossible for him to be the "perfect storm" for New Orleans, which would have to come into the city from the ESE.
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Quoting StormW:
Good evening StormGoddess!

Good evening Storm. How are you? :)
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Quoting SLU:
NOLA's luck ran out with this cat. 5 "supercane"



Call it bad "luck," or call it something else. Have you ever thought about the shape of that track?

Come on, what are the odds?
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Quoting GBguy88:
I must say, Bonnie turned out to be a far more impressive storm than I thought here in Pensacola. After a particularly torrential sprinkle (dabbled with some equally menacing sunshine), we suffered several stiff breezes approaching 20mph. I gathered my most precious belongings and huddled in the closet for what seemed like hours, *praying* the roof wasn't peeled off like a sardine can. After the pure, raw tropical energy subsided, I was amazed to see the damage was confined to a few small leaves, a depressingly dry lawn, and a couple of ants that looked pretty pissed. We truly escaped the monster. Reporting to you from Pensacola, Florida...I have survived Bonnie...(*sigh of relief*)


FTW!!!
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1076. Patrap
Department of Defense
Office of Civil Defense
Motion Picture Service

A Hurricane Called Betsy
AVA16542VNB1 - 1966

Recounts Hurricane Betsy's 3,000-mile trip from the Caribbean through the Bahamas, Miami, the Florida Keys, and along the Gulf Coast to New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

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Quoting GBguy88:
I must say, Bonnie turned out to be a far more impressive storm than I thought here in Pensacola. After a particularly torrential sprinkle (dabbled with some equally menacing sunshine), we suffered several stiff breezes approaching 20mph. I gathered my most precious belongings and huddled in the closet for what seemed like hours, *praying* the roof wasn't peeled off like a sardine can. After the pure, raw tropical energy subsided, I was amazed to see the damage was confined to a few small leaves, a depressingly dry lawn, and a couple of ants that looked pretty pissed. We truly escaped the monster. Reporting to you from Pensacola, Florida...I have survived Bonnie...(*sigh of relief*)

Really glad to hear that you are alright and made it through ok. Whew! :)
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1074. Patrap
This clip shows the difficulties faced by a family of a man disabled by polio in evacuating their home because of Hurricane Betsy in September 1965. Still today, millions of Americans who have physical, medical, sensory or cognitive disabilities, emergencies such as fires, floods and acts of terrorism present a real challenge. The same challenge also applies to the elderly and other special needs populations. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina focused the nations attention on the need for emergency planning that
includes the most vulnerable members of our communities. Failure to plan evacuations accessible to all citizens left thousands of elderly and disabled New Orleanians stranded in flooded homes, with hundreds dying, while tens of thousands suffered in crowded and chaotic shelters of last resort. Unfortunately, the lack of accessible evacuation planning is not limited to the New Orleans area. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there are 35
million Americans over 65, a large number of whom live alone—19 percent of men and 40 percent of women. In addition, more than 54 million Americans have disabilities. Yet there are very few cities that have comprehensive plans to ensure their evacuation in an emergency. This was clipped from the film, A Hurricane Called Betsy, produced after the hurricane by the Department of Defenses Office of Civil Defense. The entire film is available on the Internet Archive.

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1036 Levi: Ah yes Elena. I also recall Juan, Georges, Ike, Ghustov, and others. Andrew was a particularly terrifying close call.

I remember Ivan quite well. Evacuated, but he took a turn East. Then he came back about a week later, after a trip across the East coast and back through FL, for a second attempt at us. Man that was a persistent storm...
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1071. SLU
NOLA's luck ran out with this cat. 5 "supercane"

Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4796
Anyway, the blob in SW Caribbean not even yellow on NHC at 8 p.m. so obviously, nothing in the immediate future to worry about.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11143
Quoting Patrap:
Hurricane Elena's textbook eye moves over Biloxi, Mississippi on the morning of September 2, 1985.


We were near Pass Road by he Sea Bee Base in Long Beach Miss at this time..a few miles away.

One could hear the Backside winds a coming for a full 3 minutes before we got that backside.


Amazing video Pat...how did your part of town fare??? I heard almost the entire Gulf coast evacuated because of the unpredictable movement before it came ashore.
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Levi I am not sure about dismissing the area in the BOC, a bulk of the 850mb vorticity is offshore and that ball of convection is as well
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1064. GBguy88
I must say, Bonnie turned out to be a far more impressive storm than I thought here in Pensacola. After a particularly torrential sprinkle (dabbled with some equally menacing sunshine), we suffered several stiff breezes approaching 20mph. I gathered my most precious belongings and huddled in the closet for what seemed like hours, *praying* the roof wasn't peeled off like a sardine can. After the pure, raw tropical energy subsided, I was amazed to see the damage was confined to a few small leaves, a depressingly dry lawn, and a couple of ants that looked pretty pissed. We truly escaped the monster. Reporting to you from Pensacola, Florida...I have survived Bonnie...(*sigh of relief*)
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1063. Patrap
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Quoting StormW:
REMAINDER OF THE 2010 HURRICANE SEASON ACTIVITY PREDICTOR / SIGNALS


Nice work, and I appreciate your time creating this.
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Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11143
1058. aquak9
MechEngineMet- since the blog is kinda quiet, I'll venture a reply to your post 1048:

I was 9 months old when Dora came thru. My folks said I wasn't a bit interested in anything except looking out the windows. Guess I got addicted at a young age.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25702
Storm....An excellent explanation on your thoughts for the remainder of the 2010 season... Kudos !!!
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1055. gator23
Quoting atmosweather:


And you also have to consider hurricane Andrew as well...luckily the trough that picked up Andrew N-ward arrived just late enough to spare the city.


I didnt know Andrew was a cat 3 at landfall in Louisiana, what a difference two categories and a few hundred miles makes...
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1054. Patrap
Hurricane Elena's textbook eye moves over Biloxi, Mississippi on the morning of September 2, 1985.


We were near Pass Road by the SeaBee Base in Long Beach, Miss at this time..a few miles away.

One could hear the Backside winds a coming for a full 3 minutes before we got that backside.
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NUMEROUS STRONG SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE FROM 11N TO 14N BETWEEN 79W AND 81W...TO THE SOUTH OF THE BASE OF THE 22N77W 15N80W UPPER LEVEL TROUGH. STRONG SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE IN A LINE FROM EASTERN HONDURAS TO SOUTH CENTRAL NICARAGUA. STRONG SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE FROM SOUTHWESTERN HONDURAS...
ACROSS EL SALVADOR...INTO SOUTHWESTERN GUATEMALA AND EVENTUALLY MEXICO TO THE SOUTH OF 18N BETWEEN 92W AND 94W. ALL THIS PRECIPITATION IS OCCURRING IN BROAD SURFACE LOW PRESSURE.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11143
1052. Levi32
Brb
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Quoting atmosweather:


Elena was always the one that came so close...that was a catastrophe in the making and NOLA got fortunate.


And you also have to consider hurricane Andrew as well...luckily the trough that picked up Andrew N-ward arrived just late enough to spare the city.

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Hi Y'all.
What's going on in the southwest Caribbean?
IRLoopCarib
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11143
1033 Levi: Thank you for the feedback. Wow, you had to bring up Betsey. (I was one year old, my parents hung my crib from the ceiling. We had 18" of flood water in the house. NO I don't remember a thing about Betsey, but I do recall Camille in 69.) Thus started my addiction to the tropics in '65.

The storm of '05 (that shall remain nameless) also crossed FL. ...though further south I believe.
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Quoting Levi32:


Hello Storm, I enjoyed your post!


Love the Blog Levi.. ummm very mischievous :)
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1044. 7544
great update strom thanks alot for all u do here

hi all nice blob down south there
could this be 99l

also watching by the bahammas

and east of mex is that ex98l trying to make a come back ?
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Quoting Levi32:


Elena in 1985 also nearly did it with a very wild path due to a chaotic steering pattern, but she didn't have to deal with crossing the Florida Peninsula and so was a major hurricane at landfall, but passed just too far to the east to give New Orleans the perfect storm.



Elena was always the one that came so close...that was a catastrophe in the making and NOLA got fortunate.
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1040. unf97
Good evening StormW
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Quoting stormhank:
Based on all the positive parameters for tropical developement this season when could we possibly expect the season to really start getting active??


With a good amount of dry air in the Central ATL, upward MJO phase probably out of the basin for a couple of weeks and a strong mean flow caused by the strong Bermuda/Azores high...I'd say the next 10-15 days will be relatively slow and then after that it will explode.
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1037. Levi32
Quoting StormW:
Good evening Levi!


Hello Storm, I enjoyed your post!
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1036. Levi32
Quoting Levi32:



That's a good point and a valid one. Joe Bastardi was commenting the other day on the fact that storms that move across the Florida Peninsula from the southeast upwell the shallow shelf waters on the west side of the Peninsula and drag in dry air off Florida and the other SE states, both of which act to weaken the storm. Basically, you won't find too many storms crossing Florida north of 26N from the southeast and hitting Louisiana or further eastward at the same strength as when they came into Florida.

However, it can be done if the storm takes a track far enough south and then curves in. Betsy in 1965 was very bad for New Orleans and could have been even worse if its track was nudged just to the east. Luckily, the "perfect storm" for New Orleans, a major hurricane coming into the mouth of the Mississippi River from the ESE, is very hard to pull off without weakening the storm.





Elena in 1985 also nearly did it with a very wild path due to a chaotic steering pattern, but she didn't have to deal with crossing the Florida Peninsula and so was a major hurricane at landfall, but passed just too far to the east to give New Orleans the perfect storm.

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1034. SLU
Quoting stormhank:
Based on all the positive parameters for tropical developement this season when could we possibly expect the season to really start getting active??


The large wave coming off Africa could moisten the environment and start the procession.
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4796
1033. Levi32
Quoting MechEngMet:
Levi 1011: I agree we 'have to burst somewhere' to keep the balance. All of that heat energy has to go somewhere.

Where and when is what makes me anxious. I don't like the position of the A/B high. I don't like Bonnies track. But if I had to choose from which direction to take a storm hit, I think from the East (as Bonnies track) might do the least amount of damage.

She was moving pretty fast which means little time to strengthen. Moving near the shore a hypothetical storm might ingest some dryer air and weaken or limit its potential. We all know what a hit from the south can do to New Orleans. Yes if it came to a Cindy or Bonnie track I think I'd take Bonnie.

But I'm willing to be corrected...


That's a good point and a valid one. Joe Bastardi was commenting the other day on the fact that storms that move across the Florida Peninsula from the southeast upwell the shallow shelf waters on the west side of the Peninsula and drag in dry air off Florida and the other SE states, both of which act to weaken the storm. Basically, you won't find too many storms crossing Florida north of 26N from the southeast and hitting Louisiana or further eastward at the same strength as when they came into Florida.

However, it can be done if the storm takes a track far enough south and then curves in. Betsy in 1965 was very bad for New Orleans and could have been even worse if its track was nudged just to the east. Luckily, the "perfect storm" for New Orleans, a major hurricane coming into the mouth of the Mississippi River from the ESE, is very hard to pull off without weakening the storm.

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1032. hahaguy
Quoting stormhank:
Based on all the positive parameters for tropical developement this season when could we possibly expect the season to really start getting active??



Early to mid august.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.