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Updated: 20th September 2019 11:51 World

Hurricane Humberto takes aim at Bermuda, threatens U.S. coast

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says it expects Hurricane Humberto to lash Bermuda with high winds and heavy rain later this week.

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Storm strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane late Sunday

Raindrops cover a car's windshield in Bahamas on Friday prior to the arrival of a new tropical depression in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Humberto, which has since strengthened to a hurricane, narrowly missed the island over the weekend. (Ramon Espinosa/The Associated Press)

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says it expects Hurricane Humberto to lash Bermuda with high winds and heavy rain later this week.

The centre in Miami said Monday that Humberto had strengthened and could become a major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. The Bermuda Weather Service has issued a tropical storm watch for the island.

In a report issued at 10:35 p.m. ET Monday, the NHC said the storm was about 1,000 kilometres west of Bermuda, moving at 13 km/h, and may bring heavy rains there beginning late Tuesday. The centre of the storm is expected to approach Bermuda Wednesday night.

Humberto will bring life-threatening waves and high rip currents to parts of central Florida and North Carolina coasts for the next few days as it packs sustained winds of 150 km/h and heads east-northeast toward Bermuda, the NHC said.

Rip currents are narrow channels of water that move away from shore at high speed, posing a drowning threat to swimmers.

Additional strengthening is forecast through Wednesday, when the eye of the storm is expected to be out in the open Atlantic.

There was concern Humberto would directly hit the Bahamas, where dozens were killed and more than 1,300 people remain missing after Category 5 Hurricane Dorian devastated Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama three weeks ago.

Officials say at least 50 people are confirmed dead and more than 70,000 people have been left homeless, many without basic supplies, according to the United Nations World Food Program's estimate.

In the case of Humberto, after grazing the island nation early Sunday, forecasts now show the storm tracking away and remaining off Florida's east coast through Wednesday, the centre said.

Humberto's rains, which fell on Abaco Island, threatened to make recovery efforts more difficult, but conditions appeared to normalize Saturday afternoon.

With files from Reuters

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