US Hurricane Center: Joaquin becomes ‘extremely dangerous’ Category 4 storm

MIAMI –  The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Cuba has issued a tropical storm warning for several provinces. Joaquin is currently barreling through the Bahamas with 130 mph winds.

Here are previous updates on Joaquin and the storm’s predicted path. All times local:

4 p.m.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency to allow emergency responders to begin to prepare for flooding from heavy rains and damage from a hurricane. The governor spoke Thursday from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency in Reisterstown.

Recent storms have swamped parts of the East Coast. The approach of Hurricane Joaquin could intensify the damage.

The storm was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane Thursday afternoon and was pounding the Bahamas. It was expected to head north over the next several days, raising the possibility of heavy rains for the East Coast this weekend and into early next week.

2 p.m.

Forecasters say Hurricane Joaquin has strengthened to “an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane.”

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Thursday afternoon that additional strengthening is expected over the next 24 hours, as the storm moves past the Bahamas, bringing winds, heavy rain, dangerous surf and significant storm surge.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (210 kph) and is moving southwest at 6 mph (9 kph). It is about 70 miles (115 kilometers) south-southeast of San Salvador, Bahamas.

A hurricane watch is in effect for much of the Bahamas and other nearby islands. Forecasters say the center of Joaquin should move over or near portions of the central Bahamas Thursday afternoon and night.

Forecast maps show the storm passing the Bahamas and then making its way toward the U.S. over the next couple of days.

___

11:10 a.m.

The eye of Hurricane Joaquin is passing over Samana Cays in the Bahamas, and the storm is expected to bring more heavy rain, winds and a significant storm surge as it moves across the Atlantic toward the United States.

Late Thursday morning, Joaquin had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph), making it a major Category 3 hurricane.

Joaquin was about 80 miles (125 kilometers) south-southeast of San Salvador. It was moving southwest at 6 mph (9 kph).

Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center in Miami say a hurricane warning is in effect for much of the Bahamas. A hurricane watch is in effect for Bimini and Andros Island.

Forecasters warn people to be prepared for dangerous surf, storm surge, wind and rainfall – up to 15 or 20 inches in some areas.

They also say additional strengthening is possible over the next day, with some fluctuations in intensity possible Friday night and Saturday.

___

7:50 a.m.

Forecasters say Hurricane Joaquin will batter the central Bahamas with wind and rain through Thursday night, bringing a significant storm surge and dangerous surf.

Early Thursday, Joaquin was about 20 miles (35 kilometers) north of Samana Cays, Bahamas, and 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of San Salvador, Bahamas. The Category 3 storm has maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph) and is moving west-southwest at 5 mph (7 kph).

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami says a hurricane warning is in effect for the central and northwestern Bahamas. A hurricane watch is in effect for Bimini and Andros Island. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the southeastern Bahamas.

Joaquin, already considered a major hurricane, is expected to strengthen over the next day or two. Forecasters say some fluctuations in intensity are possible Friday.

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s