By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
PARTS of the country recently devastated by Hurricane Dorian are at risk for more bad weather, as a tropical storm warning was in effect last night for the northwest Bahamas.
Yesterday, Chief Meteorological Officer Arnold King said the heavy showers and thunderstorms passing over the northwestern Bahamas could develop into a tropical storm if favourable conditions persist. This could hamper relief and recovery efforts in Abaco and Grand Bahama, which were hard hit by Category 5 Dorian a little over a week ago.
Up to press time, a tropical storm warning was in effect for the islands of Eleuthera, Andros, New Providence, Abaco, Grand Bahama, Bimini and the Berry Islands. A tropical storm could bring sustained winds up to 39 mph, and higher gusts of 45 to 50 mph, according to senior meteorologist Basil Dean, who forecast the system will be out of the area before it develops into something more significant.
The weather disturbance, dubbed 95L by Accuweather, was moving through the northwest Bahamas towards the Florida Peninsula at five to ten miles per hour.
At an earlier NEMA briefing, Mr King warned the system will bring heavy rainfall and gusty winds to portions of the country affected by Hurricane Dorian. Flooding is also a major factor in low-lying areas and flood-prone zones.
Formation chances within the next 48 hours stood at 70 percent, and 80 percent through the next five days, Mr King said.
NEMA spokesperson Carl Smith yesterday urged the public to closely monitor public announcements as officials were “doing the best we can”.
Mr Smith acknowledged the inclement weather could potentially threaten relief and recovery efforts, and further expose vulnerable communities in hurricane ravaged areas.
“To some extent there may be an issue of communication,” he said, “I’m not saying that there is – but certainly we are inviting people who are fluent in the Creole language to assist us in getting the message out, because I know a number of them who are in vulnerable positions speak that language.”
Mr Smith continued: “We are putting up additional shelters that would have been for persons affected in Grand Bahama. We are putting up temporary shelters that will have capacity to accommodate persons. Technical people are making determinations on where those shelters should be, the best positions. We are doing the best that we can.
“The public should keep tuned to public announcements, to what’s happening around them.”
Mr Smith said NEMA and its partners were on the ground in Abaco collecting data on how many people remain on the island. He said there was no specific timeline on the erection of temporary shelters planned for both Abaco and Grand Bahama.
“Under the circumstances we are moving as quickly as we can, as efficiently as we can, as expeditiously as we can, to address those needs,” Mr Smith said.
“We want people to return to a normal life. It’s very fluid, as quickly as we can get them in and up and running. There is no desire for people to be displaced for any long period of time.”
Another system being closely monitored by forecasters is a tropical wave 700m west of Cabo Verde islands.
Conditions appear conducive for development of a tropical depression, according to Mr King, who said it could form early next week while it moves westward through the tropical Atlantic.
Mr King added: “Formation chances remain low. Zero percent over 48 hours, formation through five days is 40 percent.”