Hurricane Joaquin: Virginia Gov Declares State Of Emergency As Hurricane Nears East Coast
Hurricane Joaquin came closer to the Bahamas on Wednesday night and can potentially hit the East Cost by this weekend, as reported by the National Hurricane Center. With winds of up to 105 miles per hour, whether the hurricane will touch land or not is being debated among forecasters.
“Confidence in the details of the forecast after 72 hours remains low,” the hurricane center said. However, one computer model suggests that Joaquin will be kept away from the East Coast. “The range of possible outcomes is still large and includes the possibility of a major hurricane landfall in the Carolinas,” the center said.
With maximum sustained winds increased from 85 miles per hour to 105 miles per hour, Joaquin strengthened to a Category 2 on Wednesday evening. As of 8 p.m. ET, Joaquin was about 95 miles east of San Salvador. It was progressively moving towards the southwest at around 7 miles per hour. Parts of the Bahamas were issued hurricane warnings on Wednesday. With a possibility of flooding on Thursday and Friday, governors of Virginia and North Carolina asked residents to be careful and prepared. A state of emergency was declared by the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe.
As of Thursday, the hurricane is expected to pass near the islands of San Salvador, Cat Island, Eleuthera and Rum Cay; Geoffrey Greene, a senior forecaster with the Bahamas Meteorology Department, said the hurricane could accompany tropical-storm-force winds, storm surges, coastal flooding, and five to 10 inches of rainfall.
Winds of at least 111 miles per hour will classify Joaquin as a Category 3 hurricane. “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 hurricane center said.
According to NBC News, while the American forecast model reveals that the hurricane will move towards Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina by this weekend, the Europe model suggests that Joaquin would completely miss the East Coast. Brian Fortier, senior meteorologist at the Weather Channel, said, “It could be a significant situation. Everyone along the Northeast coast, right up to New England, should keep a close eye on the forecasts.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Roth, senior meteorologist at the Weather Channel, said, “Anybody from, I would say, Charleston, South Carolina, all the way up through the northern East Coast — you’ve got to really pay attention.”
As reported by USA Today, parts of the northeast and mid-Atlantic received showers from other weather systems. New England experienced flooding on Wednesday. More rainfall – not associated with Joaquin – could strike the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Friday and Saturday. “Several inches of rain can be expected through Friday and beyond, which will bring concerns of flash flooding,” National Weather Service meteorologist, Amanda Fanning, said.
Mike Smith, meteorologist for AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, said, “There is going to be catastrophic flooding from North Carolina to Massachusetts, and this is going to disrupt the economy regardless of whether or not Hurricane Joaquin makes landfall.”
People could be seen removing debris left by the severe weather on Eleuthera, towards the north of Cat Island in the Bahamas. Chris Gosling, who has been a resident in Eleuthera for 27 years, said, “People don’t panic too much. There’s nothing you can do about it. If it comes, it comes and you do what you can. If the forecast is right we will get some wind and rain and it will go back out to sea.”