Tropical Storm Bonnie will make landfall tonight in Nicaragua, close to the border with Costa Rica. Authorities expect extensive flooding in both countries.
Late last night, PTC2 (Potential Tropical Cyclone 2) finally became Tropical Storm Bonnie. That’s no surprise. Everyone in Costa Rica and Nicaragua has been calling it Bonnie for days now, half expecting it to become Hurricane Bonnie.
Earlier this week, it was touch and go whether Bonnie would be a hurricane or tropical storm before making landfall.
As it stands, it’s Tropical Storm Bonnie, the second named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. It’s one of the earliest named storms in recent history, according to the National Hurricane Center in the United States.
The average date a second named Atlantic storm of the year appears is July 17. This puts Bonnie over two weeks ahead of normal.
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) July 1, 2022
Right now, Bonnie is off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Authorities expect Bonnie to make landfall somewhere close to the border tonight. Both countries are already seeing cloud bands bringing in rain on Friday morning. The Colombian island of San Andres, off the coast of Nicaragua, is already experiencing tropical storm force conditions.
Costa Rica has began evacuations of communities close to the Rio San Juan, which forms the border with Nicaragua. All Costa Rica, apart from the southern Caribbean coast south of the city of Limón, is under red or orange alert. This includes the Central Valley and the Pacific coast, which tends to get hit hard by flooding when these storms hit.
Schools in Costa Rica are closed today, and also many public offices around the country. The government is advising tourism businesses to cancel or postpone adventure activities this weekend.
Tropical Storm Bonnie passing over Colombia’s San Andres. In late 2021, Hurricane Iota – a cat. 5 storm – devastated the nearby island of Providencia. https://t.co/Rh7FFwcpIR
— Oli Griffin (@OliGGriffin) July 1, 2022
In Nicaragua, the Ortega regime has already evacuated residents of the Pearl Cays.
It says it has boats standing by to get residents of other areas out of the way if necessary. The regime has already come under scrutiny for underplaying the threat of Bonnie compared to Costa Rica.
To that end, meteorologist Mario Baca, the director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER) meteorological department, said the topography of Costa Rica creates more risk to that country than to Nicaragua.
Baca said he expects the storm to make landfall on the Nicaraguan side of the border, somewhere between the mouth of the Rio San Juan and Monkey Point. It will pass across southern Nicaragua, Lake Nicaragua, and the Rivas isthmus, and then out into the Pacific on Saturday.
#ÚltimoMinuto | La depresión tropical #Bonnie se convirtió en tormenta tropical y se prevé genere fuertes lluvias en su ingreso a Nicaragua. Según el Centro de Huracanes de EE.UU, Bonnie se encuentra ubicado a unos 370 kilómetros de Bluefields. https://t.co/OxrGSc96PW
— LA PRENSA Nicaragua (@laprensa) July 1, 2022
Where will Tropical Storm Bonnie go?
If the storm retains its shape through Central America and into the Pacific, it will keep its name. Bonnie will become either a tropical storm or cyclone in that ocean. But if it disintegrates over land and reforms over the Pacific, it will become Tropical Storm Darby.
In both Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the main threat from Bonnie won’t be strong winds, although authorities expect winds of 50 to 60 mph as it hits land.
The main threat, as with other storms that hit Central America is flooding. Costa Rica expects Bonnie to dump a months worth of rain across the country over the weekend, with the Rio San Juan and its tributaries set to overflow.
Took 15 advisories (nearly 4 days) as a Potential Tropical Cyclone to get there, breaking a record set by PTC1/Alex in June.
Its landfall will likely be one of the 5 southernmost TS/hurricane landfalls on record in Central America. pic.twitter.com/PNjgh6wCmz
— Dr. Jake Carstens (@JakeCarstens) July 1, 2022