The National Hurricane Center says Joaquin has a maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, making it an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane.
Joaquin’s drifting north, with various models showing it alternately turning west or heading out to sea.
The storm is moving slowly to the southwest at about 6 mph, the center said, and is located about 70 miles from San Salvador in the Bahamas. The shore is expected to be hammered by continued wind and rains even before Joaquin arrives.
Strong winds and rain are likely throughout the weekend, with tropical storm conditions possible as early as Sunday night.
The storm is over the southeastern Bahamas and is still expected to turn north tomorrow, putting it on a track to the mid-Atlantic and Carolinas. A flood watch is now in effect for our entire area through Saturday evening.
As forecasters imagine, by Thursday afternoon, the storm had already been upgraded to a category 4; and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had declared a state of emergency for his state. Heavy rain will be the first threat to the region on Thursday and Friday. However, we can not yet completely rule out direct impacts along on the east coast, and residents there should continue to follow the progress of Joaquin over the next couple of days. “Because landfall, if it occurs, is still more than three days away, it’s too early to talk about specific wind, rain or surge impacts from Joaquin in the U.S”.
New London Mayor Daryl Finizio has been using Facebook to keep residents updated about the rain and potential for flooding after flash floods swept through the city several weeks ago.
While the National Hurricane Center’s forecast track as of Thursday evening kept the storm out at sea, officials were taking no chances.
Joaquin, already considered a major hurricane, is expected to strengthen over the next day or two.
The National Weather Service warned that major coastal flooding is likely Thursday through the weekend.
“We still don’t know where Joaquin will go next”, Craig Fugate, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said at today’s new conference.
A Hurricane Warning continues for the Central and Northwest Bahamas (including the Abacos, Berry Islands, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island, and New Providence) and for the Acklins, Crooked Island, and Mayaguana in the Southeast Bahamas.
” ‘There’s still a distinct possibility that this could make landfall somewhere in the USA,’ said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and hurricane center spokesman”.