Strong winds hit southern Florida late Friday morning as Tropical Storm Bonnie made landfall near Biscayne Bay in southeastern Florida. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.
The tropical storm watch for the northern Gulf of Mexico coast has been upgraded to a tropical storm warning.
The warning area now includes the northwestern Bahamas, the southeast coast of Florida, including the Keys, the west coast of Florida as far north as Englewood and from Destin, Florida, to Morgan City, Louisiana.
The National Hurricane Center said that when the center of Bonnie made landfall at Biscayne Bay, south-southeast of Miami, most of the weather was already inland.
“No important change in strength is forecast while Bonnie is crossing the Florida peninsula,” the hurricane center said in its 11 a.m. advisory. “However … some slight strengthening is possible when the cyclone moves over the Gulf of Mexico late tonight and Saturday.”
Bonnie is expected to drop about 1 to 3 inches of rain over south Florida, with up to 5 inches in isolated areas.
The storm was also expected to bring surges, raising water levels by 2 feet or more above ground level over the Keys and southeastern Florida.
With the weather changing, BP has suspended work on a relief well to permanently seal the damaged well. And late Thursday, the federal official overseeing the effort, retired Adm. Thad Allen, ordered ships in the area to go to shore. That could delay operations at the well site for 10 to 14 days. But Allen said there’s enough confidence in the well that it will be left capped and closed during the rough weather.