59°F
weather icon Clear

Still reeling from Hurricane Dorian, Bahamas faces tropical storm

Updated September 14, 2019 - 11:34 am

FREEPORT, Bahamas — Officials temporarily suspended aid efforts and closed a couple of small airports in the Bahamas Saturday as Tropical Storm Humberto dumped rain on parts of the archipelago’s northwest region that were already hammered by Hurricane Dorian two weeks ago.

Humberto lashed the islands as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited the Bahamas to support humanitarian efforts in the wake of Dorian, which hit as a Category-5 storm that left thousands in need of food, water and shelter. The list of missing stands at an alarming 1,300 people and the death toll at 50. But officials caution the list is preliminary and many people could just be unable to connect with loved ones.

Threatening to exacerbate islands’ problems, Humberto’s rains were falling on Abaco island though conditions appeared normal Saturday afternoon in nearby Grand Bahama.

“Rains are the biggest issue right now,” member of parliament Iram Lewis said by telephone. “People are still reeling from the first storm.”

At 2 p.m. EDT, the hurricane center said the storm was located about 40 miles north of Great Abaco island and 120 miles east-northeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama. The storm was moving 7 mph with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

There was a tropical storm warning in effect for the northwest Bahamas, except for Andros Island, and 2 to 4 inches of rain was expected, with isolated amounts of 6 inches. Weather forecasters say Humberto will likely become a hurricane by Sunday night as it moves away from the Bahamas and the U.S. coast. It won’t threaten land as a hurricane but its swells could affect the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina later this weekend and early next week.

Under a bright sun in the Grand Bahama, 40-year-old maintenance man Dexter Wilson was helping a friend put a blue tarp on a damaged roof. He said he was worried about his brother in Abaco given the tropical storm.

“He’s still there. I don’t know why,” he said.

The hurricane center said most of Humberto’s heavy squalls were occurring north and east of the center of the storm, which was passing just east of Abaco. However, government officials in the Bahamas took no chances and urged people in damaged homes to seek shelter as they announced that aid efforts would be temporarily affected.

“The weather system will slow down logistics,” said Carl Smith, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency.

The distribution of meals in Grand Bahama was reduced ahead of the storm, and a spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Program said all flights into its logistics hub in Marsh Harbor in Abaco were suspended.

Later Saturday, WFO spokesperson Herve Verhoosel said the agency had resumed activities in Marsh Harbor.

“Our team is back at work to support the population and relief organizations,” Verhoosel said in a statement.

Dave McGregor, president and COO of the Grand Bahama Power Company, said crews would resume restoring power as soon as possible.

“We are back in storm preparation mode again, unfortunately,” he said.

Guterres, who was in Abaco on Saturday, said earlier he hoped the weather would not impede his visit.

“In some areas, more than three-quarters of all buildings have been destroyed. Hospitals are either in ruins, or overwhelmed. Schools turned into rubble,” the U.N. secretary-general said in a prepared statement ahead of the visit.

He said thousands of people continue to need food, water and shelter, and U.N. humanitarian agencies are on the ground to help them.

“Our hearts go out to all the people of the Bahamas and the United Nations is right by their side,” he said.

In Freeport, 63-year-old construction worker Nathaniel Swann said he wasn’t worried about Humberto.

“Storms don’t bother me,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do about it.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Gunman goes to class after shooting 1 near California school

Police Capt. John Cregan said authorities were still looking for the shooter’s handgun, which he put into a backpack and handed off to someone in a vehicle.

2 Proud Boys members get 4-year sentences over NYC melee

NEW YORK — Two members of the far-right Proud Boys were sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison for their roles in a street fight after a speech last year at New York’s Metropolitan Republican Club.

South Pole ozone hole shrinks to smallest since discovery in ‘85

The ozone hole near the south pole this year is the smallest since it was discovered, but it is more due to freakish Antarctic weather than efforts to cut down on pollution, NASA reported.

Reaction strong as Trump compares his impeachment to ‘lynching’

President Donald Trump injected racial overtones into the House impeachment inquiry Tuesday by comparing the Democratic-led investigation into his handling of U.S. policy toward Ukraine to a “lynching.” The highest-ranking African American in Congress warned Trump about making the comparison.

176K displaced by Turkey offensive into Syria; 150-hour deal reached

The talks between Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are likely to be crucial in determining arrangements along the Syrian-Turkish border.

US troops leaving Syria for Iraq cannot stay, says military

U.S. troops leaving Syria and heading to neighboring Iraq do not have permission to stay in the country, Iraq’s military said Tuesday as American forces continued to pull out of northern Syria after Turkey’s invasion of the border region.