Hurricane Joaquin is currently undergoing an eye wall replacement cycle and this has downgraded him to a category 3 hurricane. Slow weakening is anticipated as he begins to deal with some very dry air to the north and east of the system and it is not certain if he will become a category 4 hurricane again after the cycle ends. Joaquin is currently located at 24.1 N and 74.7 W, with maximum sustained winds at 125 mph. The minimum central pressure is up to 942 millibars. Joaquin is moving towards the north at 7 mph.
Thought he is currently travelling North, Joaquin has made some shifts to the east recently as he travels south of a ridge moving west across the Atlantic. This ridge will carry him towards the northeast before allowing him to move north again in a little over a day. Florida and the Bahamas will begin to see improving conditions as the tropical showers and high winds associated with Joaquin in the region begin to move away, though it will not be a quick process and the damage done to many of the Bahama islands has already been devastating. Interests in Bermuda should keep a careful eye on this system.
Some model data does still attempt to bring Joaquin towards the coast but these models are in the minority and the actual data and ground/upper air conditions tend to discount the information put out by the models as a possibility so areas near the Outer banks and Delmarva peninsula can breath easier tonight. Interests in Southeastern New England should continue to monitor Joaquin as there is significantly more data available that brings the storm closer to the coast there and increases the risk for tropical storm conditions due to the size of the wind field and track of the center, though landfall in New England is very unlikely at this point and hurricane conditions are not anticipated.
The Hurricane hunter aircraft is once again on its way to Joaquin to try an get as much information into the 0 UTC cycle of the models as possible. This mornings run made 4 passes through the eye and allowed for another upper level run around both Joaquin and the area known as invest 90L, an area of organized showers and thunderstorms associated with the remnants of Ida Southeast of Bermuda. This area of convection is expected to develop into a Tropical Depression in the next day or 2 and could impact the track of Joaquin some.
The Watches in Warnings that have been in effect for the Bahamas remain in effect as Joaquin slowly begins to move away. Cuba has discontinued the tropical storms warnings that had been issued for the Eastern part of the Country including Guantanamo Bay, and the Meteorological service of Bermuda has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the island. Hurricane watches may be needed at a later time if Joaquin moves closer to the island than expected.
Stay with Firsthand Weather to keep up to date on all the latest information and we appreciate your patronage.
Hurricane Joaquin became a category 4 Hurricane earlier today and continues to batter the Bahamas with very dangerous conditions. High winds and flooding have caused severe problems for the islands and those conditions look to continue for several more hours. Joaquin is beginning to press up against the trough in the southeastern United States and will eventually begin to make the turn to the north, but it will not do so quick enough to spare the Bahamas from additional damage. Satellite images of the eye have shown westward trends throughout the day, but in the latest images Joaquin once again began a southwesterly movement. The turn to the north is expected to take place sometime this evening or overnight but the further west Joaquin goes, the more of a hazard it should pose to coastal areas of the United States. Another interesting piece of information to include now is the possible formation of yet another tropical system out of the remnants of Ida, which can be seen below to the East northeast of Joaquin. This possible development will just add yet another wrinkle into what is already a very difficult forecast.
Currently, Joaquin is located at 23.0 N and 74.4 W, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and winds gusting to 160 mph. The minimum central pressure continues to drop and is now down to 936 millibars.
Hurricane Warnings are still in effect for the Central and Northern Bahamas with only the Islands of Bimini and Andros still under a Hurricane Watch and all Islands, including the Turks and Caicos not under a Hurricane Warning are under a Tropical Storm Warning at this time.
While the long range models continue to fluctuate with the forecast track beyond 3 days, what is certain is that Joaquin will turn to the North sometime this evening or tonight and begins to track in the direction of the Outer Banks, the forecast calls for Joaquin to remain off the coast from the Outer Banks but heavy surf, rain from the Outer Bands, and gusty winds during tropical thunderstorms are likely in that area over the weekend. A track closer to the coast is still possible but less likely, but interests in that region should continue to monitor Joaquin in future forecasts. Interests in the Mid-Atlantic and New England should closely monitor Joaquin, as the long range models have Joaquin making his closest pass to land near Cape Cod.
Stay here with Firsthand Weather for all your news on Joaquin as we nail down this track and keep you advised of the latest information at all times.
Forecaster Robert Millette
Hurricane Joaquin, currently located at 23.2 North ad 73.7 West, is now battering the Bahamas with Hurricane force winds. Joaquin has maximum sustained winds of 120 mph with higher gusts and a minimum central pressure of 942 millibars. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km). Joaquin is now moving on a more westerly course, towards the West Southwest as opposed to the generally Southwesterly track he had been taking previously. The current Firsthand Weather forecast continues to bring the Hurricane several hundred miles off the Florida and Georgia coastline heading north before moving close to the Outer Banks region on Sunday.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Central Bahamas and Northwestern Bahamas including the Abacos, Berry Islands, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island, and New Providence
as well as The Acklins, Crooked Island, and Mayaguana in the southeastern Bahamas. A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast tonight, followed by a turn toward the north and an increase in forward speed on Friday. On the forecast track, the center of Joaquin will move near or over portions of the central Bahamas today and tonight and pass near or over portions of the northwestern Bahamas on Friday.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Bimini and Andros Island
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the remainder of the southeastern Bahamas excluding the Turks and Caicos Islands and Andros Island
Please continue to watch for updates from Firsthand Weather through this afternoon. The next full update should be out just after 5 PM Eastern Time when the next complete batch of data is expected.