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Tropical storm could form near Bahamas

Bahamians and residents should be “prepared, but not overly concerned” about a low pressure system developing over the northern Bahamas that could form into the first tropical storm ahead of the 2020 hurricane season, Chief Climatological Officer Michael Stubbs said yesterday.

However, he noted that with many in those same islands still attempting to recover from Hurricane Dorian – which devastated Grand Bahama and Abaco last September – and with the country contending with a COVID-19 outbreak, the system could pose a “major concern” if it develops.

“That is a major concern for most residents, particularly residents in the northern Bahamas who would have experienced Dorian just last year,” Stubbs told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.

“And then amidst the pandemic, it’s like a double whammy. It’s something that we’re not looking forward to. Even though, based on projection, it appears as though we’re going to have a pretty active year in terms of the number of named storms, but we’re hoping and praying that we’re not impacted.”

Stubbs said that if this system does develop into a tropical storm, he believes The Bahamas would “fare pretty good” because the system is projected to move away from the area.

“It may manifest into a tropical depression and subsequently a storm,” Stubbs said.

“The Bahamas would fare pretty good because it would be moving away from The Bahamas towards the northeast, into the open Atlantic, so we would not be in the direct path of the system itself.”

He added, “But it’s not unusual for systems to basically form around this time of the year.”

An official from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) told The Guardian yesterday that the agency is prepared for the upcoming hurricane season, and that an outline of its preparedness plan would be made public by the end of this week.

NEMA is now a part of the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, which was established last year by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in the aftermath of Dorian.

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