US storm threat builds with tropical storm warning in Bahamas

A storm approaches in Nassau, Bahamas, on Sept 12, 2019. According to the National Hurricane Centre, the storm is set to drop as much as 15.2cm of rain on some parts of the Bahamas.
A storm approaches in Nassau, Bahamas, on Sept 12, 2019. According to the National Hurricane Centre, the storm is set to drop as much as 15.2cm of rain on some parts of the Bahamas.PHOTO: AFP

BOSTON (BLOOMBERG) - Tropical storm warnings have been declared for the Bahamas, which was just battered by Hurricane Dorian, evidence of strengthening in a system that forecasters say is moving towards Florida or the Gulf of Mexico.

The storm is set to drop as much as 15.2cm of rain on some parts of the Bahamas, the National Hurricane Centre said at 5am New York time.

It has maximum winds of 45 kilometres an hour, just under tropical storm levels, and is moving north-west at about 9.6kmh.

The storm is expected to strengthen in the next 48 hours, the centre said, and may become a tropical depression or a tropical storm.

The tropical disturbance is moving northwestward over the central Bahamas, according to the NHC.

A storm watch was also issued for part of the eastern Florida coast from the Jupiter Inlet to the Flagler-Volusia county line.

"On the forecast track, the system is anticipated to move across the central and northwestern Bahamas today, and along or over the east coast of Florida Saturday and Saturday night," the centre said in its latest advisory.

 
 
 
 

The forecast uncertainty for this kind of tropical disturbance is greater than that of a tropical cyclone, especially beyond two to three days, the centre said.

The system is sitting directly over the part of the Bahamas hit hardest by Dorian. The island nation is still struggling to recover from that storm, which stalled over the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane with 289kmh winds.

At least 50 people are confirmed dead from Dorian, hundreds are missing and the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama are devastated.

If the disturbance gets better organised and gains strength, it will be called Humberto, becoming the eighth storm named across the Atlantic in a season that's been slightly more active than the average.

On Wednesday (Sept 11), the health minister for the Bahamas, Mr Duane Sands, said teams of dog handlers from the US, Canada and Belgium are uncovering more and more dead bodies among the debris.

In a nation where 80 per cent of the land is less than 10 metres above sea level, people were confronted by "20 feet of ocean in their backyard", Mr Sands said.