Hurricane Joaquin may be the first storm of the 2015 hurricane season to make landfall in the US.
Here’s how the storm looked on Tuesday:
What we know so far
- As of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Hurricane Joaquin was classified as a Category 1 storm with 80-mph winds, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By 5 p.m., the winds had picked up to 85 mph. By 8 p.m. Wednesday, winds had picked up to 105 mph, making it a Category 2 storm, and as of 11 p.m. it cleared the Category 3 mark at 115 mph. As of Wednesday, most of the Bahamas is under a hurricane warning or watch, and the center of the storm is expected to pass over or near central Bahamas on Wednesday night and Thursday. About 10,000 people living on the islands will be directly hit by Joaquin, CNN reports. The storm is expected to head north and west after making landfall in the Bahamas. If Joaquin makes landfall in the US, it will be the first to do so since Hurricane Arthur hit North Carolina in early July 2014.The effects of the storm are expected to start hitting the southeast coast of the US by Thursday.Joaquin is now considered a “major hurricane” (a storm with winds more than 111 mph). The National Hurricane Center forecasts winds will get up to 155 mph by Thursday morning and 165 mph Thursday evening through Friday morning as the storm makes its way north toward the US.
And people are starting to get nervous about what it might mean for the East Coast:
Trying to temper the hype and alarm but my concern level on #Joaquin rising…Sandy comparisons inevitable but be cautious.
— Marshall Shepherd (@DrShepherd2013) September 30, 2015
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) September 30, 2015
— Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) September 30, 2015
Others, including Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, are still being cautious:
— Dr. Rick Knabb (@DrRickKnabb) September 30, 2015
Here’s a map showing Joaquin’s trajectory as of 11 p.m. Wednesday:
Here’s what Joaquin’s wind levels looked like as of 2 p.m. on Wednesday:
- Earth via Null School
And here’s what Joaquin’s waves pattern looked like around the same time:
- Earth via Null School
Hurricanes are ranked in terms of potential property damage on a scale known as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which gives them a number between 1 and 5 based on sustained wind speed. While Category 1 is considered the least damaging, Category 5 is considered the most damaging. Anything designated Category 3 or above is classified as a “major hurricane.”
We’ll be keeping an eye on the storm as it develops Thursday here.