By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE BULK of the "severe weather" expected to affect the Northwest Bahamas on Friday will be felt in Bimini, Grand Bahama, Abaco and the Berry Islands, according to forecaster Gregory Thompson.
Mr Thompson told the Tribune that New Providence is expected to experience light to moderate rain and isolated showers beginning at 1pm.
At 11am the Meteorological Office office sent out a severe weather warning for Bimini and Grand Bahama.
Mr Thompson said a cluster of well-organised thunderstorms is moving northeastward over the extreme northwest Bahamas. The thunderstorms are expected to be severe at times, causing strong, gusty winds, dangerous lightning, heavy downpours, hail and possible waterspout and tornadic activity.
Boaters in the warning area should seek safe harbour and residents in the warning area should stay indoors and away from windows as conditions worsen. Residents are also being warned not to seek shelter under trees or in water as they can become lightning conductors.
"The really bad weather will remain north of New Providence; there will be a break and then a second line of weather from across Florida will move across New Providence this afternoon into the evening," Mr Thompson said.
"The warning continues as there is quite a bit of activity coming from across Florida but New Providence will only experience maybe one or two strong showers."
All government schools in Andros, the Berry Islands, Grand Bahama and New Providence have been closed on Friday as the northwest Bahamas braces for severe thunderstorms and the possibility of flooding, waterspouts and tornadoes.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology issued the notice of closure at 7am on Friday "based on advice received from the Met Office".
Deputy Director of the Department of Meteorology, Basil Dean, said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that computer model analysis indicates that a pre-frontal trough will move across the northwest Bahamas beginning on Friday morning and “strong gusty winds in excess of gale force are also expected through Saturday night”.