Hurricane Joaquin is passing over the Bahamas, causing minor flooding and a storm surge according to officials.
Nasáu, Oct 01, 2015.- Joaquin, upgraded to a Category 3 storm as it approached the central and eastern islands, could intensify as it continues on a course that could impact the U.S. East coast this weekend.
Metorologists say San Salvador, Cat Island and Rum Cay were expected to experience the most significant effects before the storm shifts northward.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Joaquin’s winds were at a sustained speed of about 195 kilometers per hour, and at 8:00 a.m. EST the eye was situated about 15 kilometers north of Samana Cays, Bahamas.
Grand Bahama, New Providence
Earlier Thursday, a hurricane warning was issued for Grand Bahama and New Providence islands, where much of the population is concentrated.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami predicted the storm would pass over the Bahamas Thursday and Friday. The long-term forecast for the storm predicts it may approach the U.S. coastline by Sunday.
Joaquin’s track after the Bahamas is difficult to forecast. But at least one computer model has it going straight into the Chesapeake Bay of Virginia and Maryland Sunday and Monday as a Category 2 storm, which would be bad news for such major inland cities as Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.
Another track has it going out to sea, away from the coast.
Separately, a low pressure system stalled over the eastern seaboard is forecast to drench coastal cites Thursday and Friday with several centimeters of rain.