Hurricane Joaquin approaches East Coast, threatens flooding

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 10/1/2015

With just under two months left in the Atlantic hurricane season, people in the East are bracing themselves for another storm. Hurricane Joaquin is on a trajectory toward states from North Carolina on up to Maine.

Models range from a direct hit to coastal states next Monday or Tuesday. Oct. 5-6, to a path that veers farther out into the ocean away from land. Although the precise track of the hurricane is uncertain, several states on the East Coast may be affected through heavy rains and flooding.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a public advisory earlier Thursday notifying states in the mid-Atlantic regions of prolonged periods of elevated water levels and large waves. Southeastern states were to experience effects on Oct. 1, which will spread northward through the weekend. NOAA does not expect to issue a hurricane watch for the United States until at least Friday morning if at all.

Although there is low confidence in the track of the storm, residents and drivers near the coasts should be on high alert. Whether or not Hurricane Joaquin reaches land, the Carolinas up to New England should still expect heavy rains, gusty winds and possible inland flooding.

As of press time, Hurricane Joaquin has hit the Bahamas as a Category 3 storm. Models predict that the storm will reach Category 4 status in the next 24 hours before weakening to a Category 2 storm, where it is predicted to remain as it nears the States.

Below are the varying categories of storms:

  • Tropical depression: less than 39 mph 
  • Tropical storm: 39-73 mph 
  • Category 1: 74-95 mph 
  • Category 2: 96-110 mph 
  • Category 3: 111-130 mph 
  • Category 4: 131-155 mph 
  • Category 5: 156-plus mph

El Niño has reduced hurricane activity in the Atlantic, much like last year. On average, there are 12.1 named storms, 6.4 hurricanes and 2.7 major hurricanes (Category 3-5) each year. To date, there have been 10 named storms, three hurricanes and two major hurricanes in the Atlantic this year. Last year, there were nine named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Although more storms have occurred this year, effects of El Niño have weakened storms before they could strengthen to hurricane status.

Many states have mobile apps to prepare residents for natural disasters. North Carolina has the ReadyNC app for both iPhone and Android phones. Virginia’s emergency preparedness app Ready Virginia is also available for iPhone and Android phones. For a list of states’ emergency websites and links to their emergency resources, click here.

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