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Breaking News:

Maria could pose threat to Bahamas

  • The location of Tropical Storm Maria as of 8:00 p.m. yesterday. NHC/NOAA

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Sep 18, 2017

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While some people are still dealing with the devastation left behind by Hurricane Irma that passed through the southeastern Bahamas earlier this month, officials are “closely monitoring” Tropical Storm Maria, which is projected to take a similar path.

Veteran meteorologist Wayne Neely said The Bahamas could be impacted by Maria as early as this week.

“On the forecast track, it should take it just over the southeast Bahamas sometime around Friday afternoon,” Neely said yesterday.

“We have it as a major hurricane.

“On that track, we have it coming over Puerto Rico and perhaps over Hispaniola, which means that it might be dissipated by the mountains of those two countries.

“But presently, we still have it as a major hurricane, which is expected to be Category 3 or higher.

“That is definitely not good for us. It’s not good for The Bahamas.

“I advise all Bahamians to continuously monitor the progress of the storm, because it could impact The Bahamas by the weekend.”

The storm was moving at 15 miles per hour yesterday with winds at 65 miles per hour.

Forecasters believe it could grow into a “dangerous major hurricane” Category 3 or stronger, as it passes through the northeast Caribbean Islands by midweek due to a combination of low wind shear, a moist atmosphere and warm ocean temperatures.

Less than two weeks ago, Hurricane Irma impacted Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked Island, Inagua, Long Cay, Ragged Island and Bimini.

After the storm, Ragged Island was deemed uninhabitable. Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said it was unlike anything he had ever seen.

In Salina Point, Acklins, many residents lost their homes and businesses.

Other islands were also damaged.

More than 1,000 people were evacuated from those islands to New Providence.

Across the Caribbean and Florida, more than 30 deaths were reported as a result of Irma. There were no deaths reported in The Bahamas.

While Neely reminded that the storm’s path can change before Friday, he said, “In terms of on the track now, it has it... impacting Turks and Caicos Islands and Inagua again sometime on Friday afternoon.”

He said, “It is unusual to be impacted by two hurricanes in one season.

“This will be the first time since 1933 that, that has happened.

“It’s unusual, and it is not a good thing.

“Hurricanes devastate countries in significant ways.

“Two hurricanes in one season would be a burden on the government.”

Neely said while the storm is expected to strengthen, it is too early to say whether evacuations would be necessary.

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Director Captain Stephen Russell said, “We are monitoring the system at the time, and that’s it.

“No discussion has been made with the government as yet in terms of evacuation for the islands that may be threatened.”

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