Heavy rains should cool temps

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2010

The remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie – which was downgraded to a tropical depression late Friday but could build strength as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico – are expected to bring heavy rains to Covington County this weekend, said county emergency management agency director Susan Carpenter Friday.

The latest predictions by the National Hurricane Center show Bonnie is currently located at the southern tip of Florida and is expected to make landfall on the Louisiana/Mississippi coast early Sunday morning.

“Now remember, that’s what the latest predictions are,” Carpenter said. “Those could change at any time. (Thursday) the storm shifted a little bit north, and (on Friday) it shifted northwest. Right now, (Covington County) is looking good in that we’re going to miss the brunt of the storm. We should get some heavy rain on Sunday, but there’s only a 20 percent chance of us getting the full force of the storm.

Currently, a tropical storm warning is in effect for the northern Gulf coast from Destin, Fla., to Morgan City, La. The storm is moving west-northwest near 18 mph.

During the next 48 hours, the center of Bonnie will move across the southern Florida peninsula and back into the Gulf. The storm is expected to approach the northern Gulf coast later today.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds remain near 40 mph, with some higher gusts.

Carpenter said locally, winds shouldn’t be a problem as the storm makes its way ashore.

“Here, it looks like rain is all we’re going to get,” she said. “Still, with that said, things can change, we still need to be prepared.”

A heat advisory was in effect in Alabama Thursday and Friday with local highs reaching at least 102 degrees. Rains from a story system in the Gulf is expected to lower the triple-digit heat index. | Stephanie Nelson /Star-News