As expected, Hurricane Joaquin is continuing to grow under more favorable conditions. The National Hurricane Center update at 2 PM has winds up to 85 mph. Hurricane force winds reach 35 miles from the center, tropical storm force winds extend 125 miles out. The drift to the west southwest is at 6 mph. That is expected to turn to the north as the forward speed slows down and possibly stalls on Thursday.
That is what will make or break this storm track forecast. Any delay would impact how Joaquin interacts with the trough from the west across the US, and complex pattern across the Atlantic I discussed last night. The US trough is part of the same front that will bring us more rain and chilly temps in the 50s tomorrow and Friday. Below are more images and a comparison of the two major model solutions.
In short: Will the storm curve towards the east coast for landfall or out to sea? A slight change in speed of 1 or 2 mph spread over 4 or 5 days could make a big difference. That is why there is such a split seen here between the US GFS Model and The European ECMWF Model. I want to note that the ECMWF was the first to have the US landfall a few days ago, but has abandoned this notion. See the Saturday night outlook here:
Watching every model run can be frustrating as there will be subtle differences. This GFS looks to make landfall father south than the last run… now south of North Carolina’s OBX. The Euro maintains a much deeper Low Pressure at956 mb, but stalls the storm, the pushes it out to sea. That is the ultimate question. Will it get captured and pulled west by the trough or stay far enough away that it then gets kicked farther east? The National Hurricane Center forecast map here seems the average the difference while leaning towards the coastal landfall solution. It is important to note that there is a wide margin of error that grows wider each day farther out. So this latest track map includes a landfall or well out to sea.
There is support for the models projecting wins over 115 mph, that would make this a Category 3 storm. The sea surface temperatures are HOT! Over 86F is plenty of heat to feed off of for a few days.
SUMMARY OF 200 PM EDT…1800 UTC…INFORMATION
LOCATION…24.4N 72.9W ABOUT 190 MI…305 KM ENE OF THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…85 MPH…135 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…SW OR 230 DEGREES AT 6 MPH…9 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…968 MB…28.58 INCHES
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