Major hurricane Joaquin continues over the central Bahamas this morning… with max winds a dangerous 130 mph… and it has now made the much anticipated turn to the north… very slowly at 3 mph.
The storm will gradually pull north this afternoon… and northeast tonight and pull away from the Bahamas. The storm will move well east of the Coastal Empire and Low Country this weekend… holding on major hurricane status. It will then likely pull between Bermuda and Cape Hatteras and stay over the open ocean Sunday night. It will then stay well offshore the northeast United States and gradually weaken early and mid parts of next week.
So the good news this morning… the core of this system will not impact the eastern United States.
HOWEVER… tropical moisture associated with Joaquin will pull into the southeast states… leading to developing very heavy rainfall over the next couple of days. It will combine with a stalled coastal front… surface low pressure and upper level trough to bring a high risk of flooding through portions of Georgia… the Carolinas and the mid atlantic.
There is the risk for significant rainfall induced flooding in our area over the next couple of days… especially along and north of I-16. For the very latest forecast… radar and information from StormTeam 3… see our weather page at http://www.wsav.com/weather
HERE IS THE LATEST ADVISORY FROM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER…….
SUMMARY OF 1100 AM EDT…1500 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 5 MI…10 KM S OF RUM CAY BAHAMAS AND ABOUT 40 MI…65 KM SSW OF SAN SALVADOR BAHAMAS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…130 MPH…215 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…N OR 0 DEGREES AT 3 MPH…6 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…939 MB…27.73 INCHES
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…* Central Bahamas* Northwestern Bahamas including the Abacos, Berry Islands, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island, and New Providence* The Acklins, Crooked Island, and Mayaguana in the southeastern Bahamas
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…* Bimini* Andros Island
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…* Remainder of the southeastern Bahamas including the Turks and Caicos Islands* Andros Island* Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, and Guantanamo
At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Joaquin was located near latitude 23.5 North, longitude 74.8 West. Joaquin is moving toward the north near 3 mph (6 km/h), and a northward motion at a faster forward speed is expected today. A turn toward the northeast is expected tonight with an additional increase in forward speed. On the forecast track, the core of the strongest winds of Joaquin will continue moving over portions of the central and northwestern Bahamas today. Joaquin will begin to move away from the Bahamas tonight and Saturday.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds remain near 130 mph (215 km/h)with higher gusts. Joaquin is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next 24 hours. Slow weakening is expected to begin on Saturday.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 50 miles (85 km) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 205 miles(335 km).
The minimum central pressure from Hurricane Hunter aircraft data is 939 mb (27.73 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND……
WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected to continue across portions of the central and southeastern Bahamas through today. Hurricane and tropical storm conditions are expected over portions of the northwestern Bahamas today. Tropical storm conditions will affect other portions of the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands today. Tropical storm conditions are expected over portions of eastern Cuba through this morning.
STORM SURGE: A very dangerous and life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 12 feet above normal tide levels in the central Bahamas in areas of onshore flow. A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels is expected in the remainder of the Bahamas within the hurricane warning area. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.
RAINFALL: Joaquin is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 12 to 18 inches over the central Bahamas with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches. Rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches are expected over the southeastern Bahamas, with 2 to 4 inches over the northwestern Bahamas, eastern Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic,and the Turks and Caicos Islands. This rainfall could result in life-threatening flash floods.
SURF: Swells generated by Joaquin will affect portions of the Bahamas during the next few days. Swells have begun to affect portions of the southeastern coast of the United States and will spread northward along the east coast of the United States through the weekend. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Even though Joaquin is expected to pass well east of the coast of the United States, a prolonged period of elevated water levels and large waves will affect the mid-Atlantic region, causing significant beach and dune erosion with moderate coastal flooding likely.
Next intermediate advisory at 200 PM EDT.Next complete advisory at 500 PM EDT.