Bonnie Weakens After Storm Makes Landfall South of Miami

  • Tropical Storm Bonnie

    July 23: Radar imagery shows Tropical Storm Bonnie making landfall along Florida's southern coast. (MyFoxHurricane)

  • Waves in Gulf near rigs

    July 22: Waves partially obscure rigs drilling the relief wells at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP)

MIAMI -- Bonnie has weakened to a tropical depression with winds near 35 mph after crossing Florida.

Forecasters with the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm was over the Gulf just off Naples, Fla. late Friday.

Forecasters said the center of Bonnie came ashore Friday midday near Cutler Bay, about 20 miles south of Miami.

The storm poses a looming threat to the entire Gulf Coast as forecasters expected the storm to pick up strength as it blows through the Gulf.

The storm is following a course that would take it across the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, prompting a pause in efforts to clean up the disaster.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the region, extending from parts of Florida to Louisiana.

Rain and lightning raked the low-lying Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas on Thursday, and forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm could reach the Gulf of Mexico by Saturday.

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. The storm wasn't yet clear of the most heavily populated islands in the northeast, including New Providence and Grand Bahama.

"We are advising everyone to remain vigilant throughout the night and early morning when the storm exits the Bahamas," Russell said.

A broken oil well has spewed somewhere between 94 million and 184 million gallons into the Gulf before a cap could be attached. The crisis -- the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history -- unfolded after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

Some experts worry the hurricane season could worsen environmental damage from the spill, with powerful winds and large waves pushing oil deeper into estuaries and wetlands and also depositing more of the pungent, sticky mess on beaches.