NASSAU, Bahamas – The cluster of storms passing through Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, and Haiti has become more organized. The National Hurricane Center has been monitoring this system as Invest AL97 and has increased the chance of naming this a tropical storm in the next 48 hours up to 70%. Winds need to reach 40 mph for this to occur, and the storm would be named Bonnie.
The center said the depression had winds near 35 miles per hour (55 kilometers per hour around noon Thursday.
The skies went completely dark during the storm in Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, as rain fell all over the islands. The storm system has already caused flood damage in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico where a 14-year-old boy lost his life by drowning in a swollen river. In Dominican Republic around 500 people had to be evacuated while the flood destroyed several rice fields.
“There certainly are lightning and thunder,” said Johanny Lightbourne, a manager at a market in the island of Providenciales in the Caicos Islands and Turkey. “But it’s always the status quo, to a large extent.”
Said Donna Musgrove, a businesswoman in Providenciales and some roads flooded. “It’s raining, and one end of the island to the other,” she said. “The sky is dark.”
Projected Path of Tropical Storm Bonnie 2010
Some experts worry the hurricane season could worsen environmental damage from the spill, with powerful winds and large waves pushing oil deeper into estuaries and wetlands and also depositing more of the pungent, sticky mess on beaches.
As the storm advanced Thursday, people stocked up on water and food in the southern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, island chains that are well-accustomed to rough weather. Many businesses remained open, but schools were already closed for the summer.