“This vessel is disabled basically right near the eye of Hurricane Joaquin…We’re going to go and try and save lives”.
US President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in South Carolina, as heavy rainfall is set to lead to more flooding over the weekend in many parts of the east coast. “We have all of this tropical moisture, and it’s going to get sucked into the Carolinas, into Virginia, maybe even into Georgia, and that will cause flooding”.
The El Faro, a 790-foot roll on, roll off, cargo ship, departed Jacksonville, Florida, September 29, en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“There are a number of possible reasons for the loss of communications among them the increasing severity of Hurricane Joaquin“, the statement says. There has been no communication with the ship since, according to company that owns the ship, Tote Maritime.
The National Hurricane Center predicted Friday that Joaquin will move to the north, likely avoiding a direct hit of the U.S. East Coast.
Early Saturday, the storm was centered about 165 miles (270 kilometers) northeast of San Salvador, Bahamas and was moving northeast near 13 mph (20 kph).
Residents reached by relatives said they were “trapped in their homes, and reported feeling as if their structures were caving in”, Russell said.
The government said it was inspecting airports first for damage and would later look at other infrastructure, adding that it would take time to compile information about overall damage from numerous islands.
The minimum central pressure just reported by an Air Force reconnaissance plane was 940 mb (27.76 inches).
The storm dumped torrential rain over parts of the Bahamas but its hurricane-force winds missed the larger islands and the main cities and cruise ship ports of Freeport and Nassau. A few people were still making last-minute preparations, including Alexander Johnson, 61, who was moving his fishing boat with his brother, Solomon.
Perhaps the only good news is that the hurricane is not expected to directly touch the US mainland as it marches northerly.
“We have had numerous reports of road closures. God controls the storm”.
“I’m so thankful that the storm is finally moving out so that they can safely and be able to visibly see the ship and be able to rescue or pull the ship back to shore”, Roberts said.
The hurricane, only the third of the 2015 Atlantic storm season, has been tricky to forecast.
During the day on Friday and Saturday, Joaquin is expected to turn to the north and then northeast and continue to weaken a bit.
News the vessel had lost contact with shore came as forecasters shifted the likely track of the potentially catastrophic storm further away from the U.S. East Coast, but there were still warnings about the possibility of severe flooding in the Carolinas from unrelated heavy rains.
Rick Knabb, director of the hurricane centre, said Joaquin is expected to pass well offshore from the eastern seaboard.
The U.S. Coast Guard had alread rescued in recent hours 12 sailors of a Bolivian-flagged freighter that was sunk by the hurricane northwest of Haiti.
It was not clear whether the deaths of four people in a small plane crash Friday near Lake Hartwell, South Carolina, was weather related.