NASSAU, Bahamas — The Bahamas, still reeling from a hurricane that leveled businesses and left many thousands homeless, was bracing for yet another storm on Saturday that could further batter the same islands that were devastated less than two weeks ago.
The new storm, Tropical Storm Humberto, was not expected to be as destructive as Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane that killed at least 50 people and caused enormous damage across the northern Bahamas. But it could complicate the already difficult task of rescue workers, who were still searching for about 1,300 missing people. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has warned that the death toll may increase significantly.
The National Hurricane Center said late Friday that Humberto was likely to strengthen gradually and become a hurricane in two or three days. Parts of the Bahamas were expected to get two to four inches of rain, and up to six inches in some spots. The eastern coast of the United States from Central Florida through South Carolina could get two to four inches.
Some residents along Florida’s east coast were advised to monitor the progress of Humberto, which could bring strong winds in some places over the weekend.
Michael Pintard, a member of the Bahamian Parliament from Marco City, said the approaching storm had already affected relief efforts on Grand Bahama. Buildings that house aid organizations and stockpile supplies had to close early, and families scrambled to cover up their homes yet again. Mr. Pintard himself had to be rescued from his home after Hurricane Dorian.
Trevor M. Basden, director of the Bahamas Department of Meteorology, said on Friday that the authorities’ greatest concern was the potential for flooding.
The new storm system, he said Friday afternoon, was already producing “heavy, heavy rainfall.”
The Bahamas is particularly susceptible to flooding, Mr. Basden said, because 80 percent of the island chain is 10 feet or less above mean sea level.
Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, the two hardest hit by Dorian, could see “significant rainfall amounts,” he said. “Not good, not good.”
Lots of rain, combined with the high winds of a tropical storm, could further compromise buildings that were damaged by Dorian but are still standing, Mr. Basden said.
For those houses that are missing their roofs, “the walls are there to be blown down,” he said.
Hurricane Dorian damaged or destroyed nearly all structures in some settlements and towns in the Abacos, flattened entire neighborhoods and created vast debris fields. Cleanup has barely begun in most places, raising concern that the high winds of a tropical storm could turn detritus left by Dorian into missiles.
As the new storm bore down on the Bahamas, the authorities were preparing again to open shelters and issue warnings to remain indoors, said Chrystal Glinton of the nation’s National Emergency Management Agency.
Ms. Glinton said cleanup, relief and recovery efforts from Dorian would continue as much as possible.
“We continue to do our work,” she said, “but we continue to talk about preparedness.”
Pasterain Sitoir, a pastor at the First Beraca Baptist Church in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island, said he worried about his house weathering the new storm. Hurricane Dorian had punched holes in the roof, he said, but he left the Abacos on Monday before he had a chance to repair the damage.
“I didn’t have any time to fix it because everybody was busy to leave the island,” he said Friday in a telephone interview from Orlando, Fla., where he is staying with his daughter. “I just closed the doors and leave.”
“If the winds gets in there, we may lose the roof,” he said. “But I don’t know. I leave that in God’s hands.”