Hurricane Humberto steers clear of Dorian-ravaged Bahamas | News Coverage from USA

Hurricane Humberto steers clear of Dorian-ravaged Bahamas

John Bacon

USA TODAY

Published 11:06 PM EDT Sep 15, 2019

Residents, rescue teams and aid workers across the storm-battered northern Bahamas breathed a sigh of relief when Humberto, which reached hurricane status Sunday night, steered wide of the beleaguered island nation.

The Florida coast also won an apparent reprieve as forecasters predicted Humberto would turn sharply to the northeast early this week and well off the U.S. coast. Still, swells generated by Humberto will affect the U.S. coast from central Florida to North Carolina in the next few days with “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the Hurricane Center warned.

The hurricane center said Humberto was  785 miles west of Bermuda at 11 p.m. EST Sunday and moving toward the northeast at about 3 mph with 75 mph winds.

“Regardless of the exact track or development, Floridians along the East Coast should be prepared for heavy rain and potential flooding, have supplies ready and follow local media for updates,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

Humberto could threaten Bermuda on Wednesday or Thursday, AccuWeather said.

In the Bahamas, Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands are still reeling from Hurricane Dorian. Thousands of homes and businesses were flooded and flattened two weeks ago when the storm blasted through the region as a Category 5 behemoth blamed for at least 50 deaths.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Great Abaco on Saturday, rallying humanitarian workers and blaming climate change for the severity of storms in recent years.

“I’m horrified by the level of devastation,” he tweeted from the island. “I’ve never seen anything like this. #HurricaneDorian was not category 5, but category hell.”

Some rescue and aid efforts, suspended when Humberto threatened, were back in force Sunday. Tens of thousands of residents remain essentially homeless, more than 1,000 are missing, and thousands have taken to social media in frantic attempts to track down loved ones.

Authorities warn the death toll could rise sharply in coming days as recovery teams pick through devastated neighborhoods. Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that the searches were a priority and that his government, with the help of international aid teams, was working feverishly to update the status of the missing. 

“We will first and foremost put the priority on notifying families and giving them the help they need to grieve,” Minnis said.

Calling Dorian a “historic tragedy,” Minnis designated Wednesday a day of National Day of Prayer and Fasting. Flags will be flown at half-staff on public buildings to mourn those killed in the storm.

“We are a nation in mourning,” Minnis said. “We will need as many spiritual resources as we will need physical resources, to rebuild lives and to recover.”


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