NASSAU, Sept 14 — Tropical Storm Humberto lashed already devastated parts of the Bahamas with heavy rain and strong winds today, and forecasters said it was likely to become a hurricane before the end of the weekend.
The storm is expected to leave the north-western Bahamas later today and then will move well offshore of the east coast of Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean through early next week, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
Humberto had maximum sustained winds of 85 km per hour with higher gusts, and was expected to become a hurricane by Sunday night, the Miami-based NHC said today.
It barely moved this morning, the NHC said, and was located about 45 km east-northeast of Great Abaco Island. It was forecast to resume a slow motion toward the north-west and north later in the day.
Forecasters said the storm could drop up to 15.24 cm of rain in some areas but that it was not expected to produce significant storm surge in the north-western Bahamas, which were hammered earlier this month by Hurricane Dorian.
Humberto could, however, hamper relief efforts in the area where thousands of structures were flattened and 70,000 people were left needing shelter, food and water and medical aid.
Dorian slammed into the Bahamas on September 1 as a Category 5 storm, one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever to hit land, packing top sustained winds of 298 km per hour.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has said the official death toll from Dorian stands at 50 but that hundreds of people are missing and it is expected to rise.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Nassau on Friday in a show of international support. He met with evacuees at a shelter and told reporters Dorian should be a wake-up call for the world about the dangers of climate change.
“If we don’t reverse the situation we’ll see tragedies like this one multiplying and becoming more and more intense, more frequent,” Guterres said. “Climate change is running faster than what we are. We need to reverse this trend.” — Reuters