Tropical Storm Bonnie raced toward a strike on southern Florida on Friday, following a course that would take it across the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, prompting a pause in efforts to clean up the disaster.
Rain and lightning raked the low-lying Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas on Friday, and forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm was likely to reach the Gulf of Mexico by Saturday.
Bonnie had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), and was centered about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Miami around dawn Friday.
The center of Bonnie was expected to pass near the southern tip of the Florida peninsula during the day, and forecasters said it could strengthen a little over the gulf. The early forecast track would carry it toward Louisiana.
Capt. Stephen Russell, director of the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency, said there were no reports of major damage, flooding or injuries on islands in the southeastern and central Bahamas already passed by the storm on Thursday.