Hurricane Joaquin poised to hit Bahamas

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ending September On A Wet Note, Watching Joaquin.

The Bahamas was bracing on Wednesday for a brush with hurricane Joaquin, which was on a projected track that would take it near the east coast of the US early next week.

Joaquin has become a hurricane overnight, but whether it moves toward the United States remains highly uncertain and we may not know until Friday or so.NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Tri-State area is keeping a close eye on Joaquin, which strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday morning as it neared the Bahamas. The hurricane was expected to pass near the islands of San Salvador, Cat Island, Eleuthera and Rum Cay late Thursday and early Friday, close enough that it could bring tropical-storm-force winds, coastal flooding and 5-10 inches (13-25cm) of rain, said Geoffrey Greene, a senior forecaster with the Bahamas meteorology department. After an abnormally dry July and August, the recent rainfall brought Philadelphia’s total for September to 6″ even, 2.35 above average for the month.

We can be pretty confident that Joaquin will to drift to the west-southwest during the next couple of days, strengthening perhaps into a Category 2 or even 3 hurricane and threatening the Bahamas, before turning north on Friday. Joaquin — the third hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season — is packing sustained winds of 75 mph as it lurks about 250 miles east of the Bahamas, according to the National Weather Service. It also includes a must-read “key messages” section that emphasizes the uncertainty in the current forecast: Basically, all options are still on the table, but the characteristically deliberate NHC seems increasingly on board with an East Coast landfall. Forecast models develop a trough of low pressure over the southeastern United States this weekend, and if the trough is strong enough it could capture Joaquin as it’s moving north this weekend and pull it toward North Carolina or Virginia.

The steady rain is departing this Wednesday morning, and we’re expecting a dry window through later tomorrow before rain returns to the picture yet again. Before Joaquin arrives on the scene — or not, as the case may be — an area from Maine to North Carolina was set for a separate round of rainfall that had already started overnight Tuesday into Wednesday in some areas. The current worst-case scenario: Many weather models have been honing in on the possibility of a Hurricane Sandy–like hard left turn into North Carolina, Virginia, or the Delmarva Peninsula, which could produce enormous impact in Washington, D.C.—this is similar to the scenario mapped out in a 2007 Washingtonian article that imagined a Category 3 hurricane entering the Chesapeake Bay and flooding the National Mall with saltwater. This system was the result of a complex cocktail of “moving parts,” according to Fortier, including a cold front in the east and low pressure in the South that has already caused heavy rainfall there.

While that disaster is unlikely to occur with Joaquin, it’s worth considering, which feels shocking to say since this storm wasn’t even on many meteorologists’ radar two days ago. As a caveat it is worth noting that in additional to the “operational” run of the European model, dozens of other lower resolution simulations are run by the European modelers as well. The center of the storm early on Wednesday was about 245 miles (395km) east-north-east of the central Bahamas and moving toward the south-west at 6mph (9kmh).

In New Hyde Park, the combination of rain and wind took down some tree branches, which sagged onto power lines and landed on a car, CBS2’s Elise Finch reported. Wednesday morning’s official forecast track from the National Hurricane Center shows Joaquin remaining further offshore than virtually every weather model—a necessary hedge for what still is a very tough forecast. But what’s increasingly clear is the atmospheric and oceanic environments supporting Joaquin are becoming nearly ideal for rapid strengthening—very low wind shear is forecast, which should help create a symmetric and darkly beautiful major hurricane over the next two or three days fueled by very warm tropical waters near the Bahamas. Widespread minor tidal flooding is expected during high tide beginning Thursday and possibly lasting into the weekend. (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries.

Some weather models, like the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting and the GFS—the two flagship models of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—have consistently showed that’s not such a far-fetched scenario.

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