Last update: October 17th, 2019 at 5:00 am
The Atlantic hurricane season officially opens the first day of June each year. The 2016 season is predicted to be “average”, with a total of 12 named storms, five hurricanes, and two major hurricanes, according to the forecast by Colorado State University. The season is off to an early start, however, with Hurricane Alex spinning over the North Atlantic Ocean in January and Tropical Storm Bonnie dousing the southeastern United States in May.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over the southeastern United States and captured a true-color image of the soaking storm at 18:45 UTC (2:45 p.m. EDT) on May 29.
Tropical Depression Bonnie reached peak strength late on Saturday, May 28 when winds reached 45 mph (72.5 km/h) as it approached South Carolina. Bonnie made landfall just east of Charleston at 12:30 UTC (8:30 a.m. EDT) on May 29 as a weakening storm with top sustained winds of 35 mph (56 km/h).
Despite the low wind speeds, the rain from the system proved intense, dumping over 10 in (25.4 cm) of rain in parts of South Carolina by Monday, May 30. Flooding was so intense that parts of I-95, the major north-to-south interstate connecting Florida to New England, were under water and had to be closed in South Carolina on May 29.
The rains also dampened a major holiday weekend, Memorial Day weekend, for southeastern residents. As the “unofficial” start of the summer season, outdoor activities such as barbecues and relaxing on the beach are typical popular activities on this weekend – but Bonnie’s presence made such activities difficult at best. By May 31 the storm was still bringing rain to the region, but was dissipating.