Tropical storm Humberto gets closer to the area devastated by a hurricane in northwestern Bahamas
Humberto is now a tropical storm barreling its way through the Atlantic and threatening the same northwestern Bahamas islands ravaged by Hurricane Dorian nearly two weeks ago.
The new storm system is expected to move “very near” those islands Saturday, bringing tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rainfall, the National Hurricane Center said. The Bahamas will likely see up to four inches of rain with some isolated areas getting up to six inches.
Humberto is not expected to produce significant storm surge in the northwestern Bahamas, the center said.
Regardless of wind strength, “there will be rain … over (an) area that certainly doesn’t need any rain,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, excluding Andros Island, the center said.
Heavy rainfall and flash flooding could also affect parts of eastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina this weekend and early next week. Coastal areas from central Florida to South Carolina will see up to four inches of rain.
The “chance of heavy rainfall affecting coastal North Carolina early next week continues to diminish,” the center said.
It’s expected to become a hurricane
Humberto is expected to become a hurricane in two to three days as it gradually continues to strengthen, the hurricane center said.
Early Saturday, Humberto was churning at 40 mph and its high power winds extended 90 miles outward from its center.
Over the next few days, the storm will have a change in steering pattern that will cause it to slow down and turn northward off the east coast of Florida in 36 to 48 hours, according to the center.
“Since there is increasing confidence that the storm will remain well offshore of the coast of Florida, the tropical storm watch for that area has been discontinued,” the center said.
Swells generated by the tropical storm are expected to increase and affect the coasts of central Florida to South Carolina through early next week. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, the center said.
The storm comes at the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season — which is usually in the weeks surrounding September 10, when weather conditions favor storms forming quickly.
Bahamas grappling with devastation
Meanwhile, hundreds are still missing in the aftermath of the powerful Category 5 hurricane that smashed into the Abacos Islands and Grand Bahama this month.
The death toll stands at 50 but is expected to rise as search and rescue crews sift through the flattened neighborhoods.
“We are a nation in mourning,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a statement. “The grief is unbearable following the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian, which has left behind death, destruction and despair on Grand Bahama and Abaco, our second and third most populous islands.”
About 3,900 evacuees have been processed through south Florida by air and sea so far, officials said.
The number includes US citizens, legal residents, Bahamians and people from other countries who evacuated the islands after the storm hit.