Severe flooding as Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin pounds central Bahamas

long island bahamas

Flooding in Long Island, Bahamas. (Photo from Ken Bodnar’s Twitter page)

NASSAU, Bahamas, Friday October 2, 2015 – An extremely dangerous Hurricane Joaquin has just about stalled over the central Bahamas, battering it with 130 mile per hour winds and torrential rain and causing flooding.

And Joaquin’s ferocious wind, rain and surf are expected to continue pummeling the area throughout today as the hurricane hovers over the archipelago for a second day.

Extensive flooding has already been reported, with up to three feet of water settling in some areas, and the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami said rainfall totals could be as much as 25 inches in some areas.

According to reports from the Associated Press, water reached the windows of homes on Long Island and submerged the airport runway at Ragged Island.

Acklins Island has reportedly seen the most severe flooding.

Fortunately, there have so far been no reports of casualties.

The Category 4 hurricane is about 30 miles north northeast of Clarence in Long Island and is moving slowly northwestward at three miles per hour.

The NHC said Joaquin’s slow motion means that extremely dangerous conditions will continue over portions of the warning areas in the Bahamas today.

joaquin motion

“Joaquin is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 12 to 18 inches over the central Bahamas with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches. Rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches are expected over the southeastern Bahamas, with 2 to 4 inches over the northwestern Bahamas, eastern Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Turks and Caicos Islands,” it said in its 8 a.m. bulletin.

“A very dangerous and life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 12 feet above normal tide levels in the central Bahamas in areas of onshore flow. A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels is expected in the remainder of the Bahamas within the hurricane warning area. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves,” the NHC added, noting that swells generated by Joaquin will affect portions of the Bahamas during the next few days.

In addition to hurricane winds continuing across portions of the Bahamas through today, tropical storm conditions will affect the Turks and Caicos Islands today and tropical storm conditions are expected over portions of eastern Cuba through this morning.

Joaquin is expected to remain a powerful hurricane for the next several days, the NHC said, but would weaken eventually as moves over cooler waters and the wind shear increases further.

Forecast models continue to indicate a track offshore of the United States east coast from the Carolinas to the mid-Atlantic states, and the threat of direct impacts from Joaquin in those areas is decreasing.

However, there is still uncertainty in how close Joaquin could come to Bermuda, extreme southeastern New England/Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia during the next several days, and the NHC has advised interests in those areas to monitor the progress of the hurricane.

It added that a tropical storm or hurricane watch could be required for Bermuda later today.

Joaquin, the 10th named storm and third hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season, underwent rapid intensification from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane in less than 36 hours.

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