A potential tropical storm is brewing in the Atlantic that could threaten areas of the Bahamas recently devastated by Hurricane Dorian, forecasters warned.
The new storm is not expected to pack nearly the destructive power of Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane that killed at least 50 people and left widespread damage across the islands. But it could pose a challenge to rescuers, who were still searching for about 1,300 missing people as of Thursday.
The storm would be named Humberto if it becomes strong enough to be classified as the year’s ninth tropical storm.
On Friday morning, a tropical storm warning was in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, excluding Andros Island, meaning that tropical storm conditions are expected in the area within 36 hours. A tropical storm watch, which means storm conditions are possible within the next 48 hours, was in effect for the part of the Florida’s eastern coastline that stretches approximately from West Palm Beach to Daytona Beach.
At 11 a.m. Friday, the approaching storm system, packing sustained wind speeds of 30 mph, was about 190 miles southeast of the hard-hit Abaco Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was expected to gain strength and bring tropical storm-force winds — defined as sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph — and heavy rainfall to the northwest Bahamas on Friday and Saturday, forecasters said. A tropical storm warning was in effect for much of the area.
Parts of Florida’s east coast could get tropical storm-force winds over the weekend, and residents were advised to monitor the storm’s progress. The storm was moving very slowly as of late Friday morning, at just 1 mph, but forecasters expected it to gain some speed through the weekend.
Significant storm surge was not expected, forecasters said. But parts of the Bahamas were expected to get 2 to 4 inches of rain and up to 6 inches in some isolated spots, while the eastern coast of the United States from Central Florida through South Carolina could get 2 to 4 inches.
The National Hurricane Center said at 11 a.m. Friday that the storm was 80 percent likely to reach that strength within 48 hours and 90 percent likely within five days.