08/11/04 — Bonnie, Charlie head this way, may bring heavy rains

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Bonnie, Charlie head this way, may bring heavy rains

By Karinne Young
Published in News on August 11, 2004 2:04 PM

Tropical Storm Bonnie and soon-to-be Hurricane Charley are on a course that will eventually bring them, and rain, to Wayne County and the rest of North Carolina -- probably within 24 hours of each other.

Bonnie, or its remnants, is expected to pass over the Piedmont on Friday, bringing rain all across central North Carolina and the Coastal Plain.

It will be followed by Charley late Saturday. The National Weather Service said that if the storms move fast, rainfall totals will be lower. The good news is that the weather has been relatively dry after a wet July.

This morning, Bonnie was about 265 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving north at 6 mph. Winds, sustained at 50 mph, extended 45 miles out from the center of the storm.

Because of interaction with a cold front coming from the west, the rain could be heavy at times, with 1 to 3 inches possible, said Jeff Orrock of the National Weather Service in Raleigh. Tropical storm watches were issued this morning for the Florida Panhandle and portions of the Alabama coast.

Bonnie could intensify, and it showed signs of doing so early this morning, he said.

Charley, a larger and stronger storm, is expected to pass over Florida sometime Friday night, heading northeast and emerging over the coastal waters. It is expected to continue on a northern track before coming ashore around 2 a.m. Saturday somewhere between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

This morning, Charley was 115 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, moving north-northwest at 24 mph. Sustained winds measured 65 mph and extended for 115 miles from the center.

Charley may bring Wayne County more than just rain, as the storm is expected to intensify in the Gulf. Already, the Tropical Prediction Center in Miami has issued a hurricane watch for the Florida Keys. Orrock said Charley is "the one to keep an eye on."

On its current path, Charley, in one form or another, could pass "almost right over Goldsboro," he said.

The collective thinking is that Charley will bring no more than 20 to 25 mph winds and heavy rains. "But the exact timing is tough," he said. A little change now could make a big difference four days out, said Orrock, noting that the storm is still far away.

Orrock said residents should monitor weather forecasts for warnings or watches that may be issued.