A brewing storm system is posing a new threat to the northern islands of the Bahamas hit hard by Hurricane Dorian, and meteorologists say it could likely become a tropical storm over the weekend.
Teams searching for the hundreds of people missing in the aftermath of Dorian will face heavy rain and tropical-storm conditions by late Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.
The disturbance, located about 235 miles southeast of Great Abaco Island, was officially named Thursday as Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine.
The designation allows the hurricane center to issue watches and warnings before system is formally named.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for areas of the northern Bahamas. A tropical storm watch has been issued for portions of the east coast of Florida, affecting about 3 million people, according to forecasters.
It’s “not the best news for an area that’s already been hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian, with heavy rain and very strong winds,” CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said early Thursday, referring to the Category 5 monster that less than two weeks ago slammed the archipelago nation.
The new storm system will likely steam toward Florida on Saturday after bringing squally winds and rain to the Bahamas. It is possible that parts of Florida that braced for Dorian and received little more than a few high gusts could experience worse weather this weekend, CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said.
The current disturbance will likely strengthen to tropical-depression or tropical-storm strength within the next day or so, the NHC said. If it does, it will acquire the name Humberto.
Nearly 4 inches of rain could fall in the next five days in Marsh Harbour, a town in the Bahamian Abaco Islands where Dorian destroyed about 1,100 buildings, some forecast models show. In Nassau, a hub of the nation’s hurricane recovery, 1.5 inches of rain could fall by early next week, the models show.
Those rain totals may be lower, with 1 to 2 inches falling across the northern Bahamas, other forecast models show. Isolated sections of the islands could see more rain, according to those predictions, which place the system’s heaviest rain impact on Florida.
“We’re still several days away from major impacts,” Van Dam said.
Meanwhile, a tropical wave still near Africa’s west coast could become a tropical depression by early next week, the hurricane center said. It’s many days from posing any threat to the United States or the Bahamas, Van Dam said.
CNN meteorologist Judson Jones contributed to this report.