Tropical Storm Humberto gets closer to the area devastated by a hurricane in the Bahamas
GRAND BAHAMA — 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.
Early Saturday, the storm’s center was 70 miles east of Great Abaco island, the National Hurricane Center said. It’s expected to move “near or over” the northwestern Bahamas on Saturday, bringing tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rainfall, the center said.
The Bahamas will likely see up to 4 inches of rain, with some isolated areas getting up to 6 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.
Humberto’s center does not appear destined for the US Southeast coast, contrary to earlier forecasts. However, its outer bands still could drop 1 to 2 inches of rain on parts of the Florida and Georgia coasts, the National Hurricane Center said.
Early Saturday, Humberto’s maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph. Winds of tropical-storm strength extended 90 miles from its center.
It’s expected to become a hurricane after leaving the Bahamas
After it clears the Bahamas, Humberto is expected to become a hurricane in the Atlantic by Sunday night, the hurricane center said.
But the current forecast track predicts Humberto turning away from the US coast.
“Since the forecast track has shifted farther to the east, the chance of heavy rainfall affecting the southeastern United States has diminished,” the hurricane 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 Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama this month.
The death toll stands at 50 but is expected to rise as search and rescue crews sift through 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.