Humberto Strengthens Into Hurricane After Turning Away From Devastated Bahamas

The slow-moving storm narrowly missed the country, where recovery efforts from Hurricane Dorian are just beginning.

Humberto strengthened into a hurricane late Sunday after narrowly missing the Bahamas, where recovery efforts are underway following the devastation left behind by Hurricane Dorian.

In its 11 p.m. news brief, the National Hurricane Center said Humberto had maximum sustained wind speeds of 75 mph. The storm is currently far off the coast of Florida and is expected to slowly move north and approach Bermuda sometime Wednesday evening or Thursday, the agency said.

Humberto narrowly missed areas of the Bahamas that were hit by Dorian this month. That storm left at least 50 people dead and more than 1,300 people missing. Authorities have cautioned that the death toll was likely to rise dramatically as recovery officials sifted through the destruction in the Abaco Islands and beyond.

There were fears that Humberto would bring fresh danger to the Bahamas, where cleanup efforts were only just beginning. The islands did experience some rain from Humberto, but the country was spared the worst impacts of the storm.

Over the weekend, Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, visited Great Abaco, an island that suffered some of the most catastrophic damage.

“Hurricane Dorian has been classified as Category 5. I think it’s Category Hell,” Guterres said, per The Associated Press. He said the storm had left behind a “level of systematic devastation.”

During a news briefing with Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, Guterres linked Dorian’s severity with the burgeoning threats from climate change, which can make such storms more damaging and more intense (although it’s difficult to link any one storm with the phenomenon).

“In our new era of climate crisis, hurricanes and storms have turbocharged,” Guterres said, per The New York Times. “They have come with greater intensity and frequency, the direct result of warmer oceans.”

The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on Nov. 30. NOAA reported that on average, the season produces 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes.