The devastated northern Bahama islands yesterday faced a fresh tropical storm, potentially complicating desperately needed relief efforts to the shattered archipelago in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
The announcement from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) came after it had warned early on Friday that a strengthening tropical depression was heading for the same islands hit by Dorian last week.
The storm, dubbed Humberto, was expected to strengthen into a hurricane, moving very near the northwestern Bahamas, before shifting to offshore Florida after the weekend, the Miami-based forecaster said.
Grand Bahama and Abaco — in the path of the strengthening weather system, according to Bahamian forecasters — were among the worst-hit by Dorian.
Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman Carl Smith said that the storm could affect relief and recovery efforts on the islands.
“The weather system will slow down logistics,” Smith told a news conference in the capital Nassau.
Humberto was generating 64kph winds, the NHC said, and was expected to become a hurricane in two or three days.
Winds of up to 100kph were expected and heavy rainfall could bring some flooding to the already saturated islands, said Bahamian Department of Meteorology director Trevor Basden.
The announcement came as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of the dangers of climate change during a visit to the hurricane-battered archipelago.
Guterres said in a tweet he had come to the Bahamas “to express my solidarity with the Bahamian people.”
“In our new era of climate crisis, hurricanes and storms are turbo-charged,” Guterres said. “They happen with greater intensity and frequency — a direct result of warmer oceans.”
Meanwhile, NEMA raised the death toll from 50 to 52, although about 1,300 people remain unaccounted for, Smith said.
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