HURRICANE SLAMS BAHAMAS US East Coast experiences flooding
Posted on 10/02/2015 | About The Bahamas
Hurricane Joaquin is hammering the central Bahamas. The powerful tropical system became a major hurricane overnight. Islands such as San Salvador, Cat Island and Rum Cay were expected to be hit hardest before the storm begins an expected shift toward the north, forecasters said.
On Thursday afternoon, Joaquin intensified to a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. And it was still holding strong a few hours later. More than 500 residents were trapped in their homes and there were excessive power outages. The Associated Press reports that the storm ripped off tree branches and sent widespread flooding throughout some areas. There are reports of severe flooding on Long Island and the airport runway at Ragged Island is apparently submerged.
A weather station at Pitts Town on Crooked Island measured winds up to 84 mph Thursday. The Bahamas Press reported significant flooding in The Acklins, which was in the southern eyewall of Joaquin at the time. Colorado State University tropical meteorologist Dr. Phil Klotzbach said Joaquin is the strongest hurricane to impact the Bahamas since Hurricane Ike in 2008 and the first major -Category 3 or stronger - October hurricane to impact them since Hazel in 1954. Joaquin should linger through sometime Friday in the central Bahamas, producing storm surge flooding, up to 20 inches of rain, and destructive winds.
US Coast The National Hurricane Center says hurricane watches could be issued for parts of the East Coast Friday, should the storm be expected to pass close to the US coastline. No matter where Joaquin goes, it is expected to bring significant rainfall to the East Coast, where some states already were dealing with flooding from separate systems this week.
"One way or the other, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and on up will get between 5 and 10 inches of rain - even without a direct landfall," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. "If we get a landfall, we get 15 inches of rain and winds of 80 mph. "But without even a direct landfall, there will be significant flooding through the Carolinas, through Virginia, and all the way up the East Coast." Parts of the eastern US from Florida to New Jersey were under flood watches and warnings Thursday morning, with more than 10 inches of rain already having fallen in some areas this week.
Flooding made some streets impassable in Portland, Maine, on Wednesday. Several cars were stalled on one street there after their drivers tried to make it through standing water, CNN affiliate WMTW reported. Waves will build along the East Coast the next few days, and larger swells from Joaquin should arrive along the East Coast beginning in Florida, then spread up the East Coast Friday and Saturday. Coastal flooding may occur over eight or more high tide cycles along parts of the Jersey shore, Delmarva peninsula, Virginia Tidewater and Outer Banks of North Carolina.
"Each high tide, accompanied by battering waves, erodes more sand, which means less resistance for the next high tide and its waves," said senior meteorologist Stu Ostro in an internal email. Rip currents will also occur. Residents and visitors are warned to stay out of the water if red beach hazard flags are flying. Rip currents claim 100 lives in the US each year. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared states of emergencies.