Preparing for yet another storm

Storm-weary residents of Grand Bahama and Abaco are preparing for the arrival of yet another storm, as are other residents in the northern and northwest Bahamas.

At 10 o’clock last night, a hurricane warning was in effect for the northwest Bahamas, including the Abacos, Berry Islands, Bimini and Grand Bahama Island.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Andros, New Providence and Eleuthera.

Last night, meteorologists and officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), as well as Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper urged residents to take the storm threat seriously.

With the appropriate tone and level of seriousness, Cooper encouraged residents of Abaco, Grand Bahama, Bimini and the Berry Islands to take every precaution to secure themselves and their property.

Cooper noted, too, that Nicole is expected to come when seas are already at a high tide, increasing the chances of flooding.

“We are urging everyone in low-lying ares of eastern and western Grand Bahama and Abaco to move farther inland,” he said.

The National Hurricane Center in its 10 p.m. advisory said the storm was moving toward the northwest near eight mph, and this general motion was expected to continue through last night.

A turn toward the west or west-southwest was forecast to begin today and that motion was expected to continue through early Thursday.

On the forecast track, the center of Nicole will approach the northwestern Bahamas today and tonight, move near or over those islands tomorrow, and approach the east coast of Florida tomorrow night.

Nicole is forecast to be at or near hurricane intensity by tomorrow or tomorrow night while it is moving near or over the northwestern Bahamas.

Hurricane conditions are expected in the northwest Bahamas within the hurricane warning area by early tomorrow, with tropical storm conditions expected elsewhere in the northwest Bahamas by tonight.

The National Hurricane Center also said storm surge could raise water levels by as much as four to six feet above normal tide levels along the immediate coast of the northwestern Bahamas in areas of onshore winds.

Throughout the day yesterday and into the night, authorities urged residents not to underestimate Nicole.

“We are asking everyone living in domes, trailers and structures in Abaco and Grand Bahama in particular that are not up to code to make immediate plans to evacuate, to move to a hurricane shelter or another safe place,” Cooper said.

“I assure you that all agencies of government under the command of NEMA are engaged and mobilized throughout the country.”

Ensuring that the public knows that he is paying close attention to critical matters unfolding at home, Prime Minister Philip Davis, who is attending the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt, tweeted that he directed Cooper to take the necessary steps to mobilize all relevant government agencies in preparation for Nicole’s impact.

While it appears The Bahamas in this instance will be spared the wrath of a Dorian-type storm, Nicole is a reminder that even late into the season, residents ought to remain in a state of readiness with a hurricane plan in place for themselves and their families.

In Grand Bahama and Abaco, where the horrors of Dorian linger and many residents have still not completed rebuilding, there is understandably great anxiety.

From all that we were able to gather yesterday, many of those residents were taking the threat of yet another storm quite seriously.

While in the modern age the experts are able to forecast these storms, their unpredictability means it is critically important to remain vigilant.

At 8 p.m., the Department of Meteorology said the storm was not expected to strengthen into a hurricane until after it leaves Bahamian territory. Two hours later, the Hurricane Center advised otherwise.

Islands of The Bahamas have in the past experienced the damaging impact of even tropical storms.

As Cooper stressed last night, “…it is better to make preparations and not need them than to take no precautions and regret it”.

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