Tropical Storm Joaquin, currently located at 26.0 North 71.0 West, continues to get better organized today despite the northerly shear still effecting the system. Maximum sustained winds are now 65 mph and extend 90 miles from the center of the system and the minimum central pressure is 990 millibars, an 11 millibar drop in the last 6 hours. The low level center, which had been exposed outside the main area of convection is now embedded within the northern edge. This is an indication that the shear is no longer effecting the system as much as it had been over the past few days.
Despite this, Joaquin’s satellite profile on the visible imagery looks much more organized than he did 24 hours ago with a very well defined southern area of outflow that can be seen on the water vapor imagery flowing over Hispaniola as seen below. The cloud patterns to the North indicates that outflow is beginning to become better defined in that region as well and this should continue to be the case as the shear impacting the system weakens. The cluster of thunderstorms to the East of Joaquin is actually the remnants of Ida, which is also beginning to show the possibility of redevelopment over the coming days.
Both the NOAA and the Air Force have been conducting operations in Joaquin and preliminary data confirms that Joaquin is strengthening rapidly. He is now expected to become a Hurricane within 24 hours and will approach the Bahamas from the east. Anyone with plans in the region should monitor Joaquin but he is not expected to make a direct impact on the Bahamas with the core of the storm. Joaquin is forecast to turn North in front of an advancing trough moving east from the United States.
Anyone along the east coast of the US should continue to monitor this situation and we hope you stay advised of any changing weather conditions here at Firsthand Weather. I will be attempting to put out at least one update a day on the tropics and hope to be able to do 2. Matt will also be posting as his availability allows.