By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas currently faces no immediate threat from Hurricanes Florence and Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac, however chief meteorologist Basil Dean told The Tribune yesterday the country could be affected by very large sea swells generated by Florence as early as this afternoon.
Mr Dean added that residents, those who own coastal properties, and mariners in the northwest Bahamas should pay particularly close attention to the storm.
Up to press time, both Florence and Helene were Category One hurricanes. Florence is expected to make landfall between North and South Carolina in the United States later this week.
It is expected that Tropical Storm Isaac will affect the Lesser Antilles, having a direct impact on Martinique around Thursday morning, with St Lucia and Barbados also experiencing heavy rains and hurricane force winds.
Hurricane Helene is expected to remain in the open waters of the central Atlantic, and currently poses "very little threat" to land mass, Mr Dean said yesterday.
Regarding the storms, Mr Dean said: "No immediate threat, I can say that upfront… But we anticipate that Florence will shift more towards the west, northwest later on today (Sunday) and tomorrow (Monday).
"And should that take place, we can safely say that Florence should pass well to the northeast of The Bahamas by the middle of the week.
"However, some indirect impact from Florence is likely, particularly for mariners traversing the waters of The Bahamas and also coastal properties in the northwest and central islands, as we do anticipate some very large sea swells to be generated by Florence, as it continues moving northeast of The Bahamas.
"And those swells can begin to affect the Bahamas as early as tomorrow afternoon (Monday) and that will continue into the middle of next week.
"And so residents in the northwest Bahamas in particular should continue to monitor Florence very closely."
Up to press time, Hurricane Florence was moving at about six miles an hour with estimated maximum sustained winds of 75mph.
Mr Dean added the storm is expected to make landfall somewhere between North and South Carolina later in the week and said it could have a "devastating effect" for the East Coast of the United States.
He noted heavy torrential rainfall, hurricane force winds, and a storm surge are all expected to affect the area and advised those travelling in the middle of the week to keep an eye on the storm.
Up to press time, Isaac was moving west at 9mph with maximum sustained winds of 65mph.
"This storm should impact the Lesser Antilles sometime on Thursday morning and continue on that westward track," Mr Dean said. "And that (should) keep it well to the south of the Greater Antilles, which includes Cuba, Hispaniola, and of course, Puerto Rico.
"(The island) in the Lesser Antilles to receive direct impact will be Martinique. St Lucia would be just to the south of the forecast centre as well as Barbados.
"But all of them would experience either some heavy rainfalls or hurricane force winds as a result of the passage of Isaac. And that will be sometime around Thursday morning."
Mr Dean said Helene is expected to make a "curvature" towards the northwest by today. This should keep it "pretty much over the open waters of the central Atlantic and becoming very little threat to land mass," he said.
"So we seem to be in good status as far as any direct threat from these three storms," Mr Dean noted. "But Florence is the one that we want to keep our eyes on in particular because of the… sea swells."