(Bloomberg) -- The storm system that’s rained on the Bahamas for two days, slowing the recovery from Hurricane Dorian, is set to become Tropical Storm Humberto Saturday when it scrapes by Florida and veers sharply out to sea.
Parts of Florida remain on a tropical storm watch and will probably get heavy rain in any case. The system has sustained winds of 30 mph (48 kilometers), just under tropical storm levels, and has sped up, moving northwest at 8 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported at 5 p.m. New York time.
The system could reach hurricane strength within three days, according to the center, but by that point may be safely out in the Atlantic. While the latest forecast sees Florida once again spared after a close miss by Dorian, forecasters say the path remains subject to change.
“The models have trended toward an out-to-sea solution and that seems to be the most viable solution,” said Jim Rouiller, chief meteorologist at the Energy Weather Group outside Philadelphia. “But there is always a ‘what if.’"
A low-pressure trough moving across the Northeast is set to nudge the system out to sea, Rouiller said. When it becomes Humberto, the system will become the eighth named storm in the Atlantic in a season that’s been slightly more active than the average.
For two days, the system has been sitting over the part of the Bahamas hit hardest by Dorian.
The island nation is still struggling to recover from that storm, which stalled over the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane with 185-mph winds. At least 50 people are confirmed dead from Dorian, hundreds are missing and the Abaco islands and Grand Bahama are devastated.
If the disturbance gets better organized and gains strength, it will be called Humberto, becoming the eighth storm named across the Atlantic in a season that’s been slightly more active than the average.
On Wednesday, the health minister for the Bahamas, Duane Sands, said teams of dog handlers from the U.S., Canada and Belgium are uncovering more and more dead bodies among the debris. In a nation where 80% of the land is less than 32 feet (10 meters) above sea level, people were confronted by “20 feet of ocean in their backyard,” Sands said.
The six-month Atlantic season reached its statistical peak on Sept. 10, with its most active phase lasting until early October. The season ends on Nov. 30.
--With assistance from Sharon Cho and Bill Lehane.
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