Tropical storm warnings have been issued for several islands in the Bahamas thanks to a "potential tropical cyclone" that's formed nearby, the National Hurricane Center said.
Tropical storm winds of at least 39 mph are expected in the northwest Bahamas by late Friday, and the the system is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches through Sunday over the Bahamas.
This includes Grand Bahama Island and the Abacos, the islands most devastated by Hurricane Dorian. People in the Bahamas, as well as the Turks and Caicos, should be prepared for flooding from heavy rain, gusty winds from squalls and building surf conditions, AccuWeather said.
As of 5 p.m. EDT Thursday, the center of the system was about 235 miles southeast of Great Abaco Island with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph.
"Conditions are becoming favorable for a tropical depression or a tropical storm to form within the next day or so as the system moves toward the northwest through the northwestern Bahamas and toward the Florida Peninsula," the center said.
The hurricane center gives the system an 80% chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm within the next two days. If the system's winds reach 39 mph, it would be called Tropical Storm Humberto.
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What happens next is anyone's guess, as some computer models show the system intensifying into a hurricane off the Southeast coast by early next week while others show it sliding across Florida into the Gulf of Mexico.
"Until the feature actually develops, there are multiple possibilities with the track ranging from the Gulf of Mexico to the Florida Peninsula and the nearby Atlantic," AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.
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Forecasters continue to keep a close eye on a disorganized cluster of storms tracking south of the Bahamas.
How fast the disturbance strengthens may help determine its track in the coming days: https://t.co/55QhJCKyIc pic.twitter.com/3aJ74zCd7i
— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) September 12, 2019
Forecasters are keeping an eye on another system far out in the central Atlantic Ocean. Though not a threat to land at this time, the hurricane center gives the system a 40% chance of developing into a depression within the next five days. "Conditions appear conducive for development, and a tropical depression could form early next week while the system moves westward over the tropical Atlantic," the hurricane center said.
If this system is the next one to attain tropical storm status, it would be called Imelda.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) September 12, 2019
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tropical storm likely to form near Bahamas, could become hurricane