Joaquin now dangerous category four hurricane over Bahamas
MIAMI, USA -- Tropical cyclone Joaquin became an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale on Thursday as it moved over the central Bahamas, which were expected to experience hurricane force winds, storm surge and heavy rain through Thursday night. Some additional strengthening was possible Thursday night and Friday.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT on Thursday, the centre of Hurricane Joaquin was located about 15 miles (25 km) northwest of Crooked Island and about 70 miles (110 km) south of San Salvador in The Bahamas, moving toward the southwest near 6 mph (9 km/h). A westward or southwestward motion is expected through Thursday night, with a turn toward the north expected on Friday.
On the forecast track, the centre of Joaquin will move near or over portions of the central Bahamas on Thursday night and pass near or over portions of the northwestern Bahamas on Friday.
A hurricane warning is in effect for the central and northwestern Bahamas, including the Abacos, Berry Islands, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island, and New Providence, and the Acklins, Crooked Island, and Mayaguana in the southeastern Bahamas. A hurricane watch is in effect for Bimini and Andros. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the remainder of the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Hurricane conditions are expected to continue across portions of the central, northwestern and southeastern Bahamas through Friday. Tropical storm conditions will affect other portions of the southeastern Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands through Thursday night.
A very dangerous and life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as five to ten feet above normal tide levels in the central Bahamas in areas of onshore flow. A storm surge of two to four 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.
Joaquin is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches over the central Bahamas with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches. Rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches are expected over the southeastern Bahamas, with 2 to 4 inches over the northwestern Bahamas. This rainfall could result in life-threatening flash floods. Outer rain bands of Joaquin may affect portions of eastern Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic through Thursday night.
Swells generated by Joaquin will affect portions of The Bahamas during the next few days, and will begin to affect portions of the southeastern coast of the United States Thursday night and spread northward through the weekend. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.