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Old 09-29-2015, 10:41 PM
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**Please note: Another informative thread about the series of rain events for the Northeast - that Joaquin may also have an influence on - and may also have some additional Joaquin info can be found in the general weather thread here: //www.city-data.com/forum/weath...pt-29-oct.html ** - This thread, in general, will try to focus on the track and intensity of Joaquin.

Tropical Storm Joaquin (pronounced WAH-KEEN) was officially named Monday 9/28/2015 in the 11pmEST update from the NHC ( http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ )

Tue 9/29/2015 - 11pmEST In Short Update:
Strengthening Tropical Storm - Likely hurricane Wednesday - moving WSW - computer models are in agreement: They agree NOT to agree on its future track! But somewhat showing signs of maybe becoming closer to each other late tonight finally, but a big spread still - VERY COMPLEX setup this week - MULTIPLE weather systems affecting each other - VERY hard to forecast - Will know a lot better in the next 2-3 days - MULTIPLE scenarios at play here. Could this affect land? Yes! Could this turn out to sea? Yes! Could this fall apart? Yes! Could something else happen? Yes!

**WE WILL KNOW MUCH MORE BY FRIDAY!!** - If it were to affect the US mainland this would likely be towards Sunday time frame or later.

Tue 9/29/2015 - 11pmEST Long Update:
As of 11pmEST Joaquin was located about 360 miles E of the Northwestern Bahamas, winds 70mph, moving WSW at 5mph, pressure 988mb. Tropical Storm force winds extend up to 125 miles, mainly to the east of the storms center. (center is to the west of all that convection (storms)).

Previous Storm history:
Sun 9/27/2015 - 11pmEST update: Winds 35mph, moving NW at 2mph, pressure 1007mb. Upgraded to Tropical Depression.
Mon 9/27/2015 - 5amEST update: Winds 35mph, moving W at 2mph, pressure 1007mb.
Mon 9/27/2015 - 11amEST update: Winds 35mph, moving WNW at 5mph, pressure 1006mb.
Mon 9/27/2015 - 5pmEST update: Winds 35mph, moving W at 6mph, pressure 1003mb.
Mon 9/27/2015 - 11pmEST update: Winds 40mph, moving SW at 5mph, pressure 1002mb. Upgraded to Tropical Storm and named.
Tue 9/27/2015 - 5amEST update: Winds 40mph, moving W at 5mph, pressure 1002mb.
Tue 9/27/2015 - 11amEST update: Winds 45mph, moving W at 5mph, pressure 1001mb.
Tue 9/27/2015 - 5pmEST update: Winds 65mph, moving WSW at 5mph, pressure 990mb.

Hurricane Watches have now been issued for the central Bahamas. Hurricane conditions are possible in 36-48 hours or less. 4-8 inches of rain is possible with isolated totals up to 12in possible over San Salvador and Rum Cay by Thursday morning. 3-5in rain possible over the rest of the central Bahamas with 1-2in outside this area. Rough surf and rip currents are likely.

Wasn't it supposed to just go away the other day?:
Just yesterday (Monday) morning Joaquin was forecast to be absorbed by a passing front and be on its way out possibly. It was already well in the western/central Atlantic....perfect re-curvature and out to sea territory. Late Monday night however it had started strengthening and became a weak Tropical Storm with an uncertain future. Now we are looking at a strong Tropical Storm, likely to become a Hurricane (winds 74mph or greater) as early as late tonight or sometime Wednesday. Understand that it's future Sunday into Monday was not well known at the time due to weak stirring currents (tropical cyclones are large and sometimes powerful systems but, basically, they only go where they are told by surrounding air currents (high pressures (the big blue H on weather maps), frontal systems (the blue/red line with triangles/half circles on weather maps), etc.)...think of it as a spinning toy top and you blow on it to meander it away from you. And also it was not vertically stacked (There are, essentially, layers of a storm and they need to be aligned in a nice straight line or you don't get a strengthening tropical system; shear was blowing these layers apart causing it to be separated, but now that is backing off and we are getting alignment = strengthening).

What's around Joaquin causing all the uncertainty?
A picture says a thousand words so I'll just show you in the two images below...A LOT of systems at work here!

Shear separating the lower level and mid level of Joaquin has backed off, as expected, and it is entering a temporary time period of 2-3 days of favorable conditions to strengthen: warm waters (well into the 80's), little shear, and quickly pulling itself together. The NHC in their own forecast tonight at 11pm said "the NHC forecast could be somewhat conservative.":

Several of the forecast models tonight go with a more rapidly intensifying and VERY strong hurricane by Thursday. Could get interesting tomorrow. Still, conditions will likely start to become unfavorable for additional strengthening by sometime Friday as it interacts with other weather systems around it. The farther north it goes from the Bahamas the cooler the waters will be as well (warm water = hurricane food, colder = weaker), and the warmer gulf stream current just off the east coast would be a potential factor too depending on the exact track of this storm.

" The environmental steering currents are complex and are not being handled in a consistent manner by the forecast models. A wide range of outcomes are possible and it is simply too soon to say what impacts, if any, Joaquin will have on the United States." - National Hurricane Center comments at 11pmEST tonight.

There are a lot of different scenarios on computer models today. You've probably seen many on social media. Take them with a grain of salt this far out in the forecast period, especially with the complexity of this storm.

Joaquin is expected to continue SLOWLY moving generally WSW. This will bring it very near or over part of the central Bahamas around Thursday. Affects from the system would arrive by Wednesday in some areas. Thursday night is when things get interesting and it will start to become clearer what will happen this weekend with Joaquin. By Thursday evening the big trough moving across the SE US will start impacting Joaquin.

This should at least turn it away from the Bahamas but BIG questions as to which direction it heads in next. The official NHC track shows this trough will turn the storm N / NE and quickly move it away from the Bahamas. Some models then turn the storm well out to sea away from all land areas, take it near Bermuda, parallel the US East coast, or bring it along the predicted negatively tilted frontal boundary and bring it into somewhere along the East coast. Too many uncertainties at this time to say. We will know much more by Friday.

In an effort to help gather more data on this situation with all the complexities of multiple weather systems involved, the National Weather Service will be launching weather balloons every 6 hours inside the red box shown below.

Regardless of track - coastal erosion and some tidal flooding will be a big threat for NC, VA and likely additional states up the East coast that have already been battered by a week of coastal low effects / rough surf the last several days. Many of NC's outer banks dunes have been beat down / washed away this past week and now we are adding another week of rough / higher seas.

Even if Joaquin stays out to sea, the tropical moisture associated with it may likely help intensify rain totals, especially near the coast from NC up the east coast. Inland flooding will be a MAJOR concern over the next several days to week!
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Old 09-29-2015, 11:31 PM
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Thank you for this post.. This has potential to be a big deal.. Will it? Who knows.. But this is the kind of storm that can sneak up and impact a huge amount of people and cause a massive disruption.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:13 AM
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Wed 9/30/2015 - 5amEST update:

Winds 70mph, moving WSW at 6mph (barely moving), pressure 988mb. Reconnaissance aircraft will become more frequent in the storm to more constantly monitor it. Sat images show an eye is trying to form. Hurricane status sometime today (Wed) very likely.

Conditions still favorable for strengthening, could see more rapid intensification over next 24-48 hours. But that window will start to close sometime Friday into Saturday as shear increases and cooler waters start to play a role in possibly starting the weakening process as it moves away at that time from the Bahamas region.

NHC still repeating their earlier comments: "Confidence in the details of the track forecast late in the period remains very low, since the environmental steering currents are complex and not being handled in a consistent manner by the models.
Given that a wide range of outcomes is possible, it is too soon to say what impacts, if any, Joaquin will have on the United States."

Hurricane Warning for central Bahamas including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island Bahamas, Rum Cay, and San Salvador. Hurricane Watch for NW Bahamas excluding Andros Island. Includes Abacos, Berry Islands, Bimini, Eleuthera, Grand Bahamas Island, and New Providence.

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Old 09-30-2015, 06:46 AM
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Wed 9/30/2015 - 8amEST update: Joaquin is upgraded to a hurricane. Winds 75mph, moving SW at 6mph, pressure 971mb. Pressure continues to rapidly drop = strengthening.
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Old 09-30-2015, 08:21 AM
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I'll have to look to see what Accuweather has to say what this might do. At least we need the rain here on the East Coast.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:44 AM
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
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Thanks for keeping this thread going.. Will be nice to look back at both threads IF this becomes a big storm threat on land.

Hurricane JOAQUIN

1100 AM EDT WED SEP 30 2015


LOCATION...24.7N 72.6W

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Joaquin was
located near latitude 24.7 North, longitude 72.6 West. Joaquin is
moving toward the southwest near 6 mph (9 km/h). A general motion
toward the west-southwest or southwest is expected to continue
through tonight. A turn toward the northwest and a decrease in
forward speed are forecast Thursday or Thursday night. The center
of Joaquin is expected to move near or over portions of the central
Bahamas tonight and Thursday.

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane aircraft indicate that
maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80 mph (130 km/h)
with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected, and
Joaquin could become a major hurricane during the next couple of

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the
center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles
(205 km).

The minimum central pressure estimated from the Hurricane Hunter
aircraft data is 971 mb (28.67 inches).
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:33 PM
Status: "BLM = feces" (set 7 hours ago)
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whether it makes landfall near me or not, tons of rain followed by lots of wind is pretty much guaranteed.

I expect to see a lot of fallen trees.
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:45 PM
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Yep, if it were to track more towards the East Coast this weekend, trees in pre-saturated grounds don't mix well with wind events. Not to mention the huge flood potentials. Too early to say.

Many models takeing it near the East Coast, but still this afternoon one of the bigger models takes it well out to sea. As mentioned above we will have a much better understanding around Friday, and even then some questions will likely remain.
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:41 PM
Status: "BLM = feces" (set 7 hours ago)
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I agree, it's very early in the process. but fascinating to see how all these different models will pan out.

here's what happened locally when Irene came through 4 years ago.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:10 PM
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Wed 9/30/2015 - 5pm update: Winds 85mph, moving SW at 8mph, pressure lower to 967mb = still strengthening.

Just a quick update due to time constraints and because overall not much has changed from above other then rapid intensification hasn't taken place yet although still possible through Friday. Strength forecast has been steadily rising with each update, and CAT3 is likely around Friday. Start of slow weakening process is likely by Saturday and if it tracks up the east coast could become a hybrid system. Still waiting until around Friday to know more on where this may be headed.

I wanted to mention the cone the NHC has put out. I think a little explanation is warranted for this particular scenario playing out. Models are still scattered across a WIDE range. Over nearly the last 24 hours we've seen several more models consistently put out an East coast landfall scenario though, with several pointing to NC/VA (TOO EARLY TO SAY AND MODELS CHANGE EACH RUN STILL, but wanted to let you know what's going on) (and several models are scattered across the east coast still). But one of the main models has been consistently calling for this storm to turn out to sea starting sometime Friday. The NHC cone appears to be more of the middle ground between these scenarios and I wanted to point out that although the cone area is a possibility, the models as of late are leaning towards a left side (inland into NC/VA) of that cone or to the right side (out to sea/Bermuda) of that cone.

Message from the NHC at 5pmEST: "However, confidence in the details of the forecast after 72 hours remains low, since we have one normally excellent model that keeps Joaquin far away from the United States east coast. The range of possible outcomes is still large, and
includes the possibility of a major hurricane landfall in the Carolinas."

Models can and WILL change often this far out from a possible landfall event (4 days or more!). The more consistent and more tightly grouped together models are then the higher confidence we have in the track of Joaquin. And we simply do NOT have that yet and even if we did we are far out from a possible landfall event. I think it will be sometime Friday before we have a more confident track on this system and maybe even into Saturday.

Just to give you an idea on changes that can happen even when the models are more grouped together...below image is from Sandy 5 days before it made landfall...that far out, as you can see, is prone to large errors.
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