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Tropical Storm Bonnie was the second named storm of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. Bonnie formed on August 3 east of the Leeward Islands. It moved westward and degenerated into a tropical wave on August 4 after moving through the Lesser Antilles. On August 8, Bonnie re-developed into a tropical depression, moved west-northwest through the Yucatan Channel, then turned north and northeast, making landfall near Apalachicola, Florida on August 12 as a 45 mph tropical storm. Bonnie was a small storm, and its impacts were minimal. Bonnie dissipated on August 14. Bonnie made landfall in Florida the day before Hurricane Charley struck the state, and the storm is most notable for this.

Bonnie caused $1.27 million (2004 USD) in damage and caused 4 deaths.

Bonnie approaching Florida on August 11
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FormationAugust 3, 2004
Dissipation August 14, 2004
Highest winds 65 mph
Lowest pressure 1001 mbar
Deaths 3 direct, 1 indirect
Damages $1.27 million (2004 USD)
Areas affectedLeeward Islands, Jamaica, Yucatán Peninsula, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maine
Part of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological History

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A tropical wave crossed Dakar, Senegal on July 29. The wave moved westward across the Atlantic Ocean for several days, accompanied by cloudiness, thunderstorms, and a well-defined cyclonic circulation at the mid-levels of the atmosphere. The convection became concentrated and the wave developed a few curved convective bands as it moved westward. Data from QuikSCAT suggested that a small surface circulation had developed within the wave, and it is estimated that it became Tropical Depression Two on August 3 while located about 360 miles east of the island of Barbados in the Windward Islands. After forming, the depression moved swiftly to the west at a foward speed of 20 knots, and it lost its circulation upon entering the eastern Carribean Sea on August 4, and thus it degenerated back into a tropical wave. The tropical wave continued moving west and west-northwest, producing intermittent bursts of convection. When the wave entered the western Carribean Sea, convection increased significantly, and the wave once again developed a surface circulation. It is estimated that the wave developed into a tropical depression again while located about 100 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba at 1200 UTC August 8. The depression moved west-northwest across the Yucatan Channel and then strengthened into Tropical Storm Bonnie near the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.

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Radar image of Bonnie near the Yucatan Peninsula.

After forming, Bonnie moved north and northeast, reaching its peak of 65 mph winds and a pressure of 1001 mb at 1800 UTC August 11. Strong southwesterly wind shear began to impinge on the cyclone, with Bonnie weakening as a result. Bonnie made landfall near St. Vincent and St. George Island just south of Apalachicola, Florida as a 45 mph tropical storm on August 12. Tropical storm force winds were confined to coastal areas east of the center. After landfall, Bonnie weakened to a tropical depression, moved northeastward across the East Coast of the United States, and dissipated at 0000 UTC August 14 while located just to the south of Cape Cod.

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Tropical Storm Bonnie located north of Charley on August 12.

Preparations

16 hours before the storm moved through the Lesser Antilles, the government of Saint Lucia issued a Tropical Storm Warning. Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius, Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands issued Tropical Storm Watches.

Also, Bonnie combined with Charley, caused the evacuation of 154 oil platforms as well as 32 oil rigs. The halt of production was equivalent to over 1.2 million barrels of crude oil, or 0.2% of the annual oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. Also, natural gas reserves were also limited. The lack of gas production due to Bonnie and Charley was equivalent to 7.4% of the total daily production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Initial forecasts predicted that Bonnie would make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph and as a result, fifteen shelters were put on standby in seven counties of northwestern Florida. In the hours before landfall, two shelters were opened, four were placed on standby, and health and cleanup crews were dispatched to the area. Parts of Gadsden, Wakulla, and Levy Counties issued voluntary evacuations, and numerous schools were also closed. Because of the threat from Bonnie, Florida Governor Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency for the state.

Impact

Bonnie was a weak storm throughout its lifetime, and only caused minimal damage and light rainfall as a result. The Carolinas received the worst Bonnie had to offer, where a tornado outbreak produced by the cyclone killed three people and caused moderate damage.

Carribean Sea

While moving through the Lesser Antilles, the depression that was to become Bonnie moved very swiftly through the islands, and thus most islands only received minor damage from the storm. The island of Saint Lucia received light and sporadic rain, sustained winds of 20 to 25 mph, with gusts of 35 mph. In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Bonnie produced 9.2 inches of rain in 24 hours. The heavy rains blocked storm drains, including those near the airport, which was forced to shut down because of the storm. The heavy rains also caused debris to collect on roads throughout the island.

Even though Bonnie passed only 70 miles north of the Yucatan Peninsula, it produced only 0.6 inches of rain there because of its small size.

Florida

In Florida, where Bonnie made landfall, it produced 4.1 inches of rain in the city of Pace, along with a peak wind gust of 42 mph. Bonnie produced a 4 foot storm surge, as well. Moderate wave action caused slight beach erosion. Rainfall as well as storm surge flooded some roads in Taylor County, forcing the evacuation of 2,000 people. Strong winds produced by Bonnie downed trees and power lines, causing scattered power outages. A tornado in Jacksonville damaged several homes and businesses.

North Carolina

Bonnie produced a tornado outbreak across the Mid-Atlantic States. One such tornado occured in Pender County, North Carolina, destroying 17 homes and damaging 59 more, and finally causing three deaths as well as $1.27 million (2004 USD) in damage. In Stella, Bonnie produced a waterspout that struck a campground, damaged nine trailers, and wrecked small boats. Also, a tornado damaged several homes in the city of Richlands.

South Carolina

Bonnie produced tornadoes in South Carolina, as well, which damaged a total of nine homes. Bonnie also produced heavy rainfall of 6.07 inches in Loris, and the heavy rain caused flooding not only in Loris but across the state as a whole. The flooding, including a 1 foot depth along U.S. Route 501, washed away a road as well as a bridge in Greenville County. Bonnie also left 600 residents without electricity in South Carolina.

Virginia

In Virginia, Bonnie produced a suspected tornado in Danville, which destroyed the roofs of several businesses.

Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maine

Bonnie's remnants produced up to 8 inches of rain in Tannersville, Pennsylvania. The heavy rains caused the Schuylkill River to crest at 12.89 ft at Berne. The resulting flooding blocked several roads across the eastern portion of the state. Bonnie also produced gusty winds in addition to the heavy rainfall, leaving thousands of residents without power because of the downed power lines. The storm produced 4 inches of rain in Delaware, forcing 100 residents to evacuate because of the ensuing flooding. The flooding closed part of U.S. Route 13, and an overflown creek in New Castle County caused moderate flooding damage to stores. In Maine, moisture from Bonnie's remnants produced heavy rainfall, with localized amounts of 10 inches. The heavy rains flooded or washed out roads in the eastern portion of the state. In Aroostook County, near the town of St. Francis, the rainfall caused a mudslide, narrowing a county road to one lane.

Atlantic Canada

As an extratropical low combined with a frontal zone, produced moderate rainfall in Atlantic Canada, reaching 3.5 inches in Edmundston, New Brunswick. The rainfall caused basement flooding and road washouts, and slick roads caused a traffic fatality in Edmundston.

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Rainfall totals from Tropical Storm Bonnie.

Lack of Retirement

Because damage was minimal, the name Bonnie was not retired in the Spring of 2005 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

2004 Atlantic hurricane season

References

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/2004bonnie.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Storm_Bonnie_%282004%29

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