The storm strengthened into a tropical depression Friday afternoon, and likely will grow in strength into a tropical storm named Humberto, with maximum sustained winds of at least 39 mph, over the next day, forecasters say.
Regardless of wind strength, “there will be rain … over (an) area that certainly doesn’t need any rain,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
The center of Tropical Depression Nine was about 140 miles east-southeast of Great Abaco at 5 p.m. ET Friday, with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
Looking further ahead, the storm could move north just off the Florida’s Atlantic coast with tropical-storm-force winds Saturday afternoon into early Sunday, forecasters say.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for areas of the northern Bahamas. A tropical storm watch has been issued for portions of the east coast of Florida, affecting about 3 million people, according to forecasters.
Heavy rain expected over Dorian-impacted islands
Isolated sections of the northwestern Bahamas could see up to 6 inches of rain, the hurricane center says.
Rain totals could be lower — perhaps 1 to 3 inches — on Grand Bahama.
Officials in eastern Grand Bahama urged residents to move to a shelter if they were living in buildings with damage, such as compromised roofs.
The storm is not expected to make landfall on the US Southeast coast. The coastal areas from central Florida into South Carolina, though, could receive 2 to 4 inches of rain through Sunday, the hurricane center says.
After that, the storm could head toward Bermuda in the middle of next week as a hurricane.
CNN meteorologists Judson Jones and Gene Norman, and CNN’s Michelle Krupa, Nicole Chavez, Alla Eschenko and Matthew Moxey contributed to this report.