Tropical storm nears northern Bahamas, complicating Dorian relief

By Zach Fagenson

NASSAU, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The leading edge of a potential tropical storm brought rain and wind to the Bahamas early Friday, complicating the search for 1,300 people missing in the wake of the worst hurricane to ever hit the island nation and efforts to bring relief to survivors.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for most of the Northwestern Bahamas, including Great Abaco Island and Grand Bahama Island, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Those islands were ravaged when Hurricane Dorian ripped through the archipelago as a Category 5 storm two weeks ago.

Early Friday, the tropical disturbance was 235 miles (375 km) east-southeast of Freeport on Grand Bahama Island as it traveled northwest with winds of 30 mph.

The storm was expected to dump two to four inches of rain on the islands, where the powerful and slow-moving Dorian had ripped roofs off thousands of dwellings and dumped up to two feet of rain. In some areas, the new storm could drop up to 6 inches of rain through Sunday, the NHC said, but no storm surge was expected.

"Tropical storm force winds, heavy rain and high surf are expected" in the Bahamas, said Dennis Feltgen, the center's spokesman. "Wet and windy, which is going to make the recovery over the northwest Bahamas that much more difficult."

Related: Hurricane Dorian 

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Hurricane Dorian: See the storm's effect on the Bahamas, Florida and more
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Hurricane Dorian: See the storm's effect on the Bahamas, Florida and more
Brennamae Cooper, right, cries and hugs a friend after finding themselves walking in opposite directions, one escaping the destruction of Hurricane Dorian and the other on the way to search for her relatives, on a shattered road near the town of High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday Sept. 5, 2019. (AP Photo / Ramon Espinosa)
Extensive damage and destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian is seen in Great Abaco, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The storm’s devastation has come into sharper focus as the death toll climbed to 20 and many people emerged from shelters to check on their homes. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)
A man walks past damages caused by Hurricane Dorian on September 5, 2019, in Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. - Hurricane Dorian lashed the Carolinas with driving rain and fierce winds as it neared the US east coast Thursday after devastating the Bahamas and killing at least 20 people. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Limbs from trees covered the sidewalks around Forsyth Park Thursday morning, Sept. 5, 2019, following the passing of Hurricane Dorian. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News via AP)
Homes flattened by Hurricane Dorian are seen in Abaco, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The storm’s devastation has come into sharper focus as the death toll climbed to 20 and many people emerged from shelters to check on their homes. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)
Women cover their heads with palmetto leaves as they rest on the road, after the passage of Hurricane Dorian, near High Rock in Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The women are walking to the town of High Rock to look for their relatives. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Power company lineman work to restore power after a tornado hit Emerald Isle, N.C. as Hurricane Dorian moved up the East coast on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)
Beaufort Police Officer Curtis Resor, left, and Sgt. Micheal Stepehens check a sailboat for occupants in Beaufort, N.C. after Hurricane Dorian passed the North Carolina coast on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Dorian howled over North Carolina's Outer Banks on Friday — a much weaker but still dangerous version of the storm that wreaked havoc in the Bahamas — flooding homes in the low-lying ribbon of islands and throwing a scare into year-round residents who tried to tough it out. (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)
Una mujer (izquierda) habla por su celular tras ser evacuada de las islas Ábaco junto a otras personas luego del paso del huracán Dorian, en un aeropuerto privado en Nassau, Bahamas, el 5 de septiembre de 2019. (AP Foto/Fernando Llano)
Johnny Crawford navega en su kayak por una calle inundada, el 5 de septiembre de 2019, en Charleston, Carolina del Sur, tras el paso del huracán Dorian. (AP Foto/Meg Kinnard)
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flies over a house destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. At least 30 people died in the hurricane and the number could be "significantly higher," Bahamian health minister Duane Sands told The Associated Press in a telephone interview late Thursday. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
A man cries after discovering his shattered house and not knowing anything about his 8 relatives who lived in the house, missing in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday Sept. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
A couple embraces on a road destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, as they walk to the town of High Rock to try and find their relatives in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, in Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Forensic police rest after helping to recover a corpse in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Fernley Cooper walks with with his daughter Grace, with what they could recover from their house, on a road destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, near High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5 , 2019. Cooper and his daughter walked to Freeport to take refuge in the home of their relatives. (AP Photo / Ramon Espinosa)
Fernley Cooper, hand in hand with his daughter Grace, walks with what they could recover from their house, on a road destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, near High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5 , 2019. Cooper and his daughter walked to Freeport to take refuge in the home of their relatives. (AP Photo / Ramon Espinosa)
A woman comforts a man who cries after discovering his shattered house and not knowing anything about his 8 relatives who lived in the house, missing in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
The portico of a house destroyed by Hurricane Dorian is the only thing that stands of the structure, destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday Sept. 5, 2019. At least 30 people died in the hurricane and the number could be "significantly higher," Bahamian health minister Duane Sands told The Associated Press in a telephone interview late Thursday. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Forensic police recover a corpse in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Forensic police recover a corpse in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Brennamae Cooper, right, cries as she walks to Freeport, escaping of the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian, near the town of High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. Cooper walked with her husband and daughter to a relatives house in Freeport. The couple at left are on their way to High Rock to search for family member. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
MARSH HARBOUR, BAHAMAS - SEPTEMBER 5 : Debris from Hurricane Dorrian covers a neighborhood in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. Hurricane Dorian made landfall here as a Category 5 hurricane, a deadly tempest that leveled homes, crushed cars, crumpled boats and killed people. (Photo by Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
People explore the streets after Hurricane Dorian on September 5, 2019, in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, Bahamas. - The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told American network CNN on Thursday. Authorities had previously reported 20 dead, but have warned that the final figure is sure to be far higher. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A view of damage from Hurricane Dorian on September 5, 2019, in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, Bahamas. - The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told American network CNN on Thursday. Authorities had previously reported 20 dead, but have warned that the final figure is sure to be far higher. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - People shelter inside a church after surviving Hurricane Dorian on September 5, 2019, in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, Bahamas. - The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told American network CNN on Thursday. Authorities had previously reported 20 dead, but have warned that the final figure is sure to be far higher. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
People shelter inside a church after surviving Hurricane Dorian on September 5, 2019, in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, Bahamas. - The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told American network CNN on Thursday. Authorities had previously reported 20 dead, but have warned that the final figure is sure to be far higher. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man is seen among the damage from Hurricane Dorian on September 5, 2019, in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, Bahamas. - The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told American network CNN on Thursday. Authorities had previously reported 20 dead, but have warned that the final figure is sure to be far higher. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Survivors of Hurricane Dorian receive a meal from the World Central Kitchen at the government complex on September 5, 2019, in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, Bahamas. - The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told American network CNN on Thursday. Authorities had previously reported 20 dead, but have warned that the final figure is sure to be far higher. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
People shelter inside a church after surviving Hurricane Dorian on September 5, 2019, in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, Bahamas. - The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told American network CNN on Thursday. Authorities had previously reported 20 dead, but have warned that the final figure is sure to be far higher. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the World Central Kitchen delivers food relief to survivors of Hurricane Dorian September 5, 2019, in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, Bahamas. - The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told American network CNN on Thursday. Authorities had previously reported 20 dead, but have warned that the final figure is sure to be far higher. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Chef Jose Andres carries food relief while working with his charity group World Central Kitchen to help survivors of Hurricane Dorian September 5, 2019, in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, Bahamas. - The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 30 in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told American network CNN today. Authorities had previously reported 20 dead, but have warned that the final figure is sure to be far higher. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
September 6, 2019; Myrtle Beach, SC, USA; People collect shells near a stranded Jeep car in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina before it was towed around 8 a.m. Friday, September 6, 2019. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard/The Greenville News via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
September 6, 2019; Myrtle Beach, SC, USA; Real Estate booklet racks blew over during Hurricane Dorian, but not much other damage along North Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Friday, September 6, 2019. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard/The Greenville News via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
September 6, 2019; Myrtle Beach, SC, USA; People walk on the beach during lower tide in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after Hurricane Dorian cameFriday, September 6, 2019. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard/The Greenville News via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
September 6, 2019; Myrtle Beach, SC, USA; Terence Powell puts a lid back on a North Ocean Boulevard garbage can in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Friday, September 6, 2019. Powell said the city took them off before Hurricane Dorian came so they would not blow off. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard/The Greenville News via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
September 6, 2019; Myrtle Beach, SC, USA; People walk on the beach during lower tide in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after Hurricane Dorian came Friday, September 6, 2019. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard/The Greenville News via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Heavy surf from Hurricane Dorian strikes the Yaupon Beach Pier on Oak Island on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, in Oak Island, N.C. (Photo by Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS/Sipa USA)
Linda Hendrickson and Steve Edwards watch the heavy surf from Hurricane Dorian as it strikes the Yaupon Beach Pier on Oak Island on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, in Oak Island, N.C. (Photo by Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS/Sipa USA)
September 5, 2019; Wilmington, NC, USA; Water fills Water Street in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina on Sept. 5, 2019. Mandatory Credit: Angeli Wright/Asheville Citizen Times via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
September 5, 2019; Wilmington, NC, USA; Jackson Navarra and his dog, Riku, cross a flooded Water Street near the Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, during a break in the bad weather caused by Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 5, 2019. Navarra said he took Riku for an extra long walk because he could and that he was "pretty underwhelmed so far" by the storm which is expected to cross over the area overnight. Mandatory Credit: Angeli Wright/Asheville Citizen Times via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Horry County Fire rescue check on The Retreat subdivision in Little River, near North Myrtle Beach, after a tornado from Hurricane Dorian damaged the area Thursday, Septemeber 5, 2019. Hurricane Dorian Hits Thursday (Photo by KEN RUINARD / GANNETT USA TODAY NETWORK, The Greenville News via Imagn Content Services, LLC/USA Today Network/Sipa USA)
A man walks away from the ocean on the Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Thursday, Septemeber 5, 2019. Hurricane Dorian Hits Thursday (Photo by KEN RUINARD / GANNETT USA TODAY NETWORK, The Greenville News via Imagn Content Services, LLC/USA Today Network/Sipa USA)
Downed tree limbs on Calhoun Street at Marion Square in Charleston, SC, during Hurricane Dorian Thursday, September 5, 2019. The storm center was 80 miles south-southeast of Charleston at 7 a.m. packing sustained winds of 115 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Charlestondorian Mb14 09052019 (Photo by MATT BURKHARTT/Staff, The Greenville News via Imagn Content Services, LLC/USA Today Network/Sipa USA)
As multiple law enforcement agengies continue their investigation into the shooting of at least on Madison County Sheriff deputy Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, on Hwy. 16 along the edge of the Canton Country Club, Mississippi State Troopers and Canton Police cordone the crime scene. Madison County Sheriff deputy shooting (Photo by Barbara Gauntt/Clarion Ledger, Mississippi Clarion Ledger via Imagn Content Services, LLC/USA Today Network/Sipa USA)
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The storm is expected to pick up speed as it moves northwest on Friday and could hit Florida on Saturday, it said.

In Florida, a tropical storm watch was in effect for portions of the east-central coast early Friday. South Florida could see tropical storm force winds as early as Friday evening, the NHC said.

The tropical cyclone was not expected to bring anywhere near the devastation of Dorian, which slammed into the Bahamas on Sept. 1 as a Category 5 storm. It was one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record to hit land, packing top sustained winds of 185 miles per hour (298 kph).

With 1,300 people still missing, according to the Bahamian government, relief services are focused on search and rescue as well as providing food, water and shelter.

Aid groups rushed shelter material to residents living in the shells of former homes.

"We're seeing plastic tarps go out all over the islands, and that's extremely important because now you've got another tropical storm coming," said Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs for U.S. relief organization Samaritan's Purse.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit the Bahamas on Friday and Saturday to speak with people affected by the hurricane and the humanitarian teams assisting them. He planned to meet with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis in Nassau.

Minnis on Wednesday said the official death toll stood at 50 but was expected to rise. He said he was trying to remove "bureaucratic roadblocks" to bringing aid to areas where the devastation made it hard for relief teams to reach.

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said he believed "hundreds" were dead on Abaco "and significant numbers on Grand Bahama," the Nassau Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday.

Officials have erected large tents in Nassau to house those made homeless by Dorian. They plan to erect tent cities on Abaco to shelter up to 4,000 people. (Reporting by Zach Fagenson in Nassau; additional reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles, Brendan O'Brien in Chicago and Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Jason Neely and David Gregorio)

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