By Barbie Bassett - email
Bonnie was downgraded to a tropical depression this afternoon after emerging into the Gulf of Mexico. Bonnie has lost much of her earlier compact features and resembles more of a mass of elongated clouds now. Rain has been spreading into southern Alabama and the panhandle of Florida over the last few hours.
Bonnie will possibly make landfall near New Orleans sometime late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Most of the gusty winds and heavy rain appear to be on the northern and eastern side of the storm. Even with this proposed landfall, high waves could wash over the oil booms. The oil could be pushed into the marshes, channels and estuaries and would remain there for quite a while, affecting wildlife and vegetation. The oil would also be pushed further onshore on to beaches.
On the flip side, some oceanographers believe wind gusts as high as 30 miles an hour could actually evaporate the oil slick faster and high waves could help break up the patches of scattered oil.
What does this track mean for central Mississippi? High pressure over the southeast has prevented frontal systems from moving in and has kept us dry. This high pressure dome begins to relax over the weekend, which will allow for greater rain chances and breezy conditions. Areas west of I-55 could receive 1-3 inches of rain Sunday-Monday. Winds will be sustained at 20-25 miles per hour with gusts up to 30 miles per hour Sunday. The remnants of Bonnie will continue northward into Louisiana and Arkansas, so the Mississippi Delta will get in on high rain chances into early next week.
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