Hurricane Joaquin Threatens East Coast 

 October 1, 2015

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People who live along the East Coast are having flashbacks to Hurricane Sandy, which devastated portions of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut around this time three years ago. Joaquin, a Category 3 hurricane, is brewing in the Bahamas and may soon make its way up the East Coast.

If current predictions turn out to be accurate, Joaquin will not be another Sandy. Unfortunately, hurricane projections have a tendency to be unpredictable.

Current hurricane tracks project that Joaquin may strike the same area that Sandy hit in 2012. However, the storm’s projected path has already shifted several times and could very well change again.

If Joaquin does strike the same area that was hit by Sandy, it is likely that is would not be as devastating. When Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012, the storm had hurricane-force winds. By the time Joaquin makes its way that far north, it is projected to be a tropical storm.

Wherever it winds up making landfall, Joaquin is expected to bring heavy rains to the East Coast. Some states are already dealing with flooding as a result of separate systems that brought heavy precipitation this week. Even if Joaquin misses the Mid-Atlantic, the region is expected to get 10 inches of rainfall in the next week. If Joaquin makes landfall there, the area could receive twice that amount of rain.

A large area along the East Coast from South Carolina to Maine is under flood watches and warnings. Flooding has already been reported in some areas. If the ground becomes saturated, trees could fall. Officials are concerned about the possibility of trees falling into roadways.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has already declared a state of emergency. The Red Cross is encouraging people to prepare for the storm.

For the next couple of days, Joaquin is expected to pass near the Bahamas before traveling north. The storm has been creating waves with 120 mile per hour winds approximately 20 miles north of the Samana Cays. Forecasters expect 10 to 15 inches of rain to fall over the Bahamas through Friday, October 2. Storm surges with tides three to five feet higher than normal are possible in the Bahamas. Swells could also create life-threatening rip currents along the southeastern coast of the United States on Thursday, October 1.

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