Another rescue mission was successful: On Thursday night, the Coast Guard helicopter lifted 12 sailors from their sinking 212-foot cargo ship besieged by Joaquin and listing 51 miles northwest of Haiti, the guard said.
The last message the Coast Guard receive from the El Faro said that the ship was beset by Joaquin and had taken on water, but had since contained the flooding. On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that rescuers from the U.S. Coast Guard spotted “life jackets, life rings, containers and an oil sheen” in the search area.
A life ring from the cargo ship was located on Saturday, but no members of the crew had been found, the Coast Guard said.
Millions along the east coast breathed a little easier Friday after forecasters said Hurricane Joaquin would probably veer out to sea instead of joining up with a drenching rainstorm that is bringing severe flooding to parts of the Atlantic Seaboard.
At 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), Joaquin, which strengthened significantly early Saturday, had maximum sustained winds of 155 miles (250 km) per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Fedor said that the search will resume “at first light” Saturday morning, hoping by then Joaquin will have finally picked up its pace – after crawling for most of the past two days – and turned away from the Bahamas.
The 735-foot (224-meter) El Faro was heading from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico when it was battered by 20- to 30-foot waves (up to 9-meter) as Joaquin was a Category 4 storm.
Joaquin is now a Category 4 Hurricane.
“It’s going to take a few time to verify”.
Meteorologists said the Carolinas will probably get the worst of it, including possible landslides in the mountains. In a statement on Saturday, officials said they had accounted for all crew members on the Bolivian-flagged ship. Gabe Somma, who also said that Coast Guard cutters were still fighting the weather trying to get there.
An elderly man died on Long Island during the hurricane but it has not yet been determined if the storm caused his death, said Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency. Officials have already reopened more than a dozen small airports across the island chain.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the Cuban government has issued a tropical storm warning for several provinces as Hurricane Joaquin barrels through the Bahamas with 130-mph (210 kph) winds.
However, additional weakening is expected over the next 48 hours, as the Category Two storm on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale continues to decrease, it added.
Even remaining well offshore, the storm’s impact will still be felt along the East coast. “It’s really a mess and we are going to have significantly more problems with multiple rivers reaching moderate flood (level) or higher”.
While Joaquin has continued to shift away from the U.S. East Coast, risky flooding triggered by heavy rainfall was expected across the Carolinas, along with parts of Georgia, Virginia and New Jersey this weekend, USA forecasters said.