Bonnie strengthens into major hurricane off of Mexico

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Tropical storm Bonnie strengthened into the first major hurricane of the eastern Pacific season on Tuesday. 

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued advisories on the storm, which was located a couple of hundred miles south of southwestern Mexico. 

It crossed over Central America from the Caribbean, dropping heavy rain and contributing to at least two deaths. 

However, forecasters said they expected the hurricane to pose no threat to land. 

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A boat arrives in Bluefields Bay after Tropical Storm Bonnie hit the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, Saturday, July 2, 2022.  

A boat arrives in Bluefields Bay after Tropical Storm Bonnie hit the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, Saturday, July 2, 2022.  
(AP Photo/Inti Ocon)

Bonnie caused heavy flooding in Nicaragua over the weekend after making landfall as a tropical storm, leading to the casualties.

Nicaragua’s army said that 40-year-old Alberto Flores Landero died trying to cross the swollen Mati River in Siuna and that Juan Carlos Alemán, 38, died trying to help passengers from a bus that fell into the Ali Bethel River.

Maximum sustained winds were near 105 mph, with higher gusts.

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The NHC said some fluctuations in strength are possible through Thursday, while a gradual weakening trend is expected to begin thereafter. 

Hurricane Bonnie's track in the Pacific Ocean

Hurricane Bonnie’s track in the Pacific Ocean
(NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center)

The agency also warned that a broad area of low pressure is expected to form south of Mexico’s southern coast toward the end of the week. 

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A disturbance by Hurricane Bonnie

A disturbance by Hurricane Bonnie
(NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center)

While the NHC noted that environmental conditions are conducive for gradual development of the system as it moves generally west-northwestward, it has a near-zero chance of formation through the next two days and a 20% chance of formation over the course of the next five days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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