Hi everyone! There have been some interesting developments when it comes to the future course of Hurricane Joaquin. First of all, Joaquin is an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. Portions of the Bahamas are getting battered this evening and the slow movement of the storm is not helping. Rainfall up to 20" can be expected along with a storm surge of 5-10 feet above normal tide levels. This is in addition to the destructive winds.
The interesting developments have to do with the future course of Joaquin. The European Model has been very consistent from run to run with a forecast track well out to sea away from the East Coast of the United States. However, the GFS solution has changed drastically over the last 24 hours. On Wednesday, the GFS was forecasting landfall in North Carolina late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. However, the latest runs of the GFS track Joaquin hundreds of miles to the east of Cape Cod. That is quite a change over a 24 hour period!
If we believe the European Model and the GFS, Southern New England has nothing to worry about other than dangerous surf and rip current conditions along with high ocean swells. We are already experiencing high surf and coastal flooding due to a strong and persistent northeasterly flow along with astronomically high tides. This is totally unrelated to Joaquin.
However, Joaquin is still in the Bahamas and a turn to the north has not yet taken place. Therefore, we can't breathe easy just yet. Other guidance models still have a track much closer to the East Coast. The official track from the National Hurricane Center has Joaquin passing to just to the southeast of Cape Cod early next week as a strong tropical storm. Joaquin will weaken with time due to increasing shear and cooler sea surface temperatures. However, Southern New England is still in the cone of uncertainty. Therefore, we still have to pay close attention to future forecasts.
My gut feeling tells me Joaquin will miss Southern New England, but I could be very wrong. The entire Channel 3 Early Warning Forecast Team will keep you updated with new information over the coming days.
In the meantime, we will have periods of rain tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday. Plus, it will be blustery and quite cool with overnight lows in the 40s and daytime highs only in the 50s. You will need and jacket and an umbrella. It is going to feel a lot like October!
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