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Oct 1, 2015 1:59 PM

Joe Knows Tropical Update: Hurricane Joaquin intensifies to Category 4


The drama continues to unfold along with the eventual track Hurricane Joaquin will take. Hurricane Joaquin intensified into a Cat 4 storm Thursday afternoon and has sustained winds upwards of 130 mph and the lowest pressures in the storm have fallen down to 942 mb. The storm is currently raking over the central and southern Bahamas and could end up being a very damaging if not deadly storm for that island chain.
There is still a favorable environment for Joaquin to get even stronger in the next 24 hours-36 hours.
It will likely intensify to winds reaching 140 mph in the center of the storm as it eventually will take a turn to the north.
The storm has been tracking a little father to the SW than expected, which could end up being critical in the eventual path this storm will take.
Last night we had a lot of agreement from our models of a land falling Hurricane from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic.
That changed in a big way this morning! The relied upon Euro has always been the out to sea solution among all the models. But it was the lone wolf. Now other models are hinting at that possibility because the of the farther SW drift this storm has taken. The GFS model had Joaquin slamming into New York City this morning with a disaster run, but now has the storm completely offshore taking a lead from the Euro.
So moral of the story is our confidence of where this will eventually end up has decreased.
We feel good about an eventual turn to the north in the next 24 hours, but after 36 hours, the guidance remains very divergent.
The Canadian, GFDL, HWRF, and NAVGEM models forecast Joaquin to turn northwestward and make landfall over the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic States.
Meanwhile we are waiting on the latest ECMWF. The ECMWF continues to forecast a slower northeastward motion taking Joaquin near Bermuda and out to sea.
The UKMET and GFS are in between these extremes showing a generally northward motion and offshore solution much different from yesterday.
Given the spread and the possibility that the 1200 UTC guidance could show additional changes, the forecast track after 36 hours is nudged only slightly to the east at this time.
The new track lies to the east of the landfalling models, but to the west of the GFS, UKMET, ECMWF, and the various consensus models.
Further adjustments to the track will be needed later today
depending on how the models do (or do not) change. Things are trending farther east and a storm cutting right down the middle and striking Southern New England is still on the table as well.
Many portions of the eastern U.S. are currently experiencing heavy rains and gusty winds associated with a frontal system. These heavy rains are likely to continue for the next few days, even if the center of Joaquin stays offshore.
The resulting inland flood potential could complicate preparations for Joaquin should it head toward the coast, and even more substantial inland flooding is possible if Joaquin later passes near or over these same areas.


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