Hurricane Joaquin heads toward Bahamas

The Hurricane Center says additional strengthening is expected over the next two days.

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Hurricane Joaquin has developed in the Atlantic Ocean, and is now the 10 named storm of the season.

And that’s related to a stalled frontal system during Friday and Saturday – in advance of Hurricane Joaquin, which is now an “increasing threat” even though its track remains uncertain.

Namely a Hurricane Warning is in effect for Central Bahamas including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador.

Its maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour (137 kph) were midrange for a Catergory 1 storm, but forecasters predicted it would become stronger, possibly becoming a major hurricane. There is a large amount of uncertainty with the forecast of Joaquin, because the various computer models show wildly different tracks. Not that you would know, as rains are expected through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Joaquin is expected to hit quite early next week and could evolve into a Category 3 hurricane by then with top wind speeds of 115 miles per hour.

But the most destructive weather pattern so far this year was Tropical Storm Erika, which killed around 30 people and caused extensive damage in August on the small Caribbean island of Dominica.

Now NOAA has begun a series of missions in the storm environment, and the National Weather Service is launching extra balloon soundings to help close the gap. A wide range of outcomes is possible, from major hurricane directly hitting the U.S. East Coast to Joaquin aiming out to sea.

“Because landfall, if it occurs, is still more than three days away, it is too early to talk about specific wind, rain, or surge impacts from Joaquin in the United States”, the forecast said.

The agency has issued a coastal flood watch and advisory for the area through Friday and likely the weekend, bringing beach erosion and washover due to the five- to eight-foot waves.

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Most of the guidance models bring the storm through the Carolinas, Maryland and Virginia, producing very heavy rain.

BREAKING Joaquin Becomes Hurricane Expected To Head Toward N.J