A tropical depression was gaining power and growing into a tropical storm Friday as it aimed for the Bahamas, already ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, forecasters said.
It was two weeks ago Sunday that Dorian, at Category 5 force, made landfall in the Bahamas and then spun in place for days, killing more than 50.
As the island nation continues to dig out from that calamity, it must now prepare for what could be another.
The Bahamian Department of Meteorology said in a statement that a military flight tracked the weather system Friday and placed it about 190 miles east-southeast of Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, which is part of the country’s northern Abaco Islands.
“The system has been meandering during the past few hours,” the department said, “but is expected to resume a slow motion toward the northwest and north-northwest later today. The system is anticipated to move across the northwest Bahamas tonight.”
Grand Bahama, the Abaco Islands and the Berry Islands were under a tropical storm warning tonight, according to the department. About 2-4 inches of rain could be expected with some isolated showers pushing 6 inches, it said.
National Hurricane Center forecasters expect the depression’s winds to exceed 39 mph tonight or early Saturday, at which point it would be designated Tropical Storm Humberto, said center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.
The system appears to be moving east of Florida, out to the Atlantic, but forecasters are still warning people along the East Coast of the United States to pay attention to forecasts and warnings, he said.
“The models trend it more to the east, which is good,” Feltgen said. “At this point we’re not calling for landfall on the U.S. coast.”
The center expects the depression to develop into a full-on hurricane, perhaps in the next five days, he said. Bermuda could be in play, but it’s too soon to tell, Feltgen said. A hurricane has maximum sustained surface winds of 74 mph or greater.
The tropical depression’s wind and rain won’t help relief efforts underway in the Bahamas.
On Friday Chef Jose Andrés tweeted that his nonprofit World Central Kitchen has been in the Bahamas for 12 days and served 200,000 meals. He said the organization has stocked up on food because flying probably won’t be advisable Saturday.
“A storm coming over Bahamas,” he said in an attached video message. “The only good thing is that people, they are safe in shelters. Hopefully it will be not so bad.”
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