FORECASTERS are monitoring a weather disturbance near the southeast Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Sunday night that has the potential to form into a tropical depression or storm on Monday.
An area of low pressure located 60 miles east north east of Mayaguana showed signs of organisation on Sunday evening according to the National Hurricane Centre and was tracked to move west-northwest or northwest near or over the central and northwest Bahamas, according to the Bahamas Department of Meteorology.
Residents in the Turks and Caicos Islands and in the southeast and the central Bahamas were put on alert for heavy rain and strong gusty winds. Residents in those areas were also told to be prepared to take quick action in the event a tropical storm warning was issued.
The islands told to be on alert include Inagua, Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, Samana Cay, Ragged Island, Long Island, the Exumas, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Cat Island.
In a statement on Sunday, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reported that it was partially activated as it monitored the new developing system. According to the Department of Meteorology, if the system continues to strengthen it would become Tropical Storm Kate.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system on Monday morning.
In October, Hurricane Joaquin pummelled Acklins, Crooked Island, San Salvador, Long Island, Ragged Island, Mayaguana and Rum Cay, affecting the lives of an estimated 5,000 residents.
Residents in those areas are still reeling from the devastation wrought by the category four storm.
On Sunday night, NEMA Director Captain Stephen Russell and a core team were on standby to continue to monitor the system and to keep the public abreast of the situation.
Newly designated hurricane shelters have been announced for those areas expected to be impacted. They are:
South Acklins: Spring Point Community Centre
North Acklins: Chester’s Hurricane Shelter
Central Acklins: Snug Corner Primary School
Crooked Island: Cripple Hill Church of God; Landrail Point Government Clinic; Cabbage Hill Primary School; Administrative Block in Colonel Hill High School.
Long Cay: Collie’s Apartment, Albert Town.
Rum Cay: St Christopher’s Anglican Church, Port Nelson
San Salvador: The Research Centre, United Estates; Idell Jones Centre, Cockburn Town.
Mayaguana: St James Baptist Church, Abrahams Bay; Betsy Bay Community Hall; BERA Mission Church, Pirates Well.
Inagua: St Philip’s Anglican Church and Zion Baptist Church, Mathew Town.
Long Island: Brethren Church, Seymours; St Joseph Catholic Church, Thompson Bay; Salem Baptist Church, Millers; Church of God, Doctor’s Creek; St Johns Anglican Church, Buckley’s; Clarence Town Community Centre.