Hurricane Joaquin reaches Cat 4 strength

Hurricane Joaquin reaches Cat 4 strength

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Hurricane Joaquin reached category 4 strength on Thursday afternoon, becoming 2015's first cat 4 hurricane in the Atlantic. The devastating storm was located over the east Bahamas on Thursday afternoon causing disaster-like conditions.

Much of the Bahamas is being impacted by major Hurricane Joaquin. Destructive winds up to 130 mph, dangerous storm surge up to 8 feet, between 10 and 15 inches of flooding rainfall, and life-threatening swells and rip currents will threaten them over the next few days.

According to the National Hurricane Center forecast, Joaquin is expected to become even stronger, reaching max winds of 140 mph by Friday. With their 4pm update on Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Joaquin's track was shifted slightly eastward.

"With how much farther offshore the storm's center could be, that's the good news for folks along the coast," stated WLOX Chief Meteorologist Carrie Duncan. "A trough dipping down across the Gulf will help to push the storm away and pick it up and increase its forward motion."

Even though the official forecast could have Joaquin's center never making a US landfall as it moves up the US east coast, coastal locations along the mid-Atlantic states are still expecting impacts by early next week. The storm still poses no threat to South Mississippi.

"Joaquin has become the strongest and probably most devastating storm in the Atlantic for this season, so far," Duncan continued. "We are continuing to keep a very close eye on this system. It looks like it is really wreaking havoc on parts of the Bahamas."

"Thankfully, Joaquin won't affect us on the Gulf Coast," WLOX Meteorologist Wesley Williams commented. "Any locals planning to travel toward the east coast, especially the Carolinas and northward, over the next week should monitor the weather closely if they want to avoid hurricane or tropical storm conditions."

Meteorologist Andrew Wilson flew with the Hurricane Hunters into Joaquin earlier Thursday. Be sure to tune into WLOX News and for his reports.

The WLOX Weather Team will inform you of South Mississippi's forecast on-air, online, and using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. 
You can like us on Facebook: Carrie Duncan WLOX MeteorologistMeteorologist Wesley WilliamsTommy Richards, and Meteorologist Andrew Wilson.

And follow us on Twitter: @carrieduncanwx@WesWilliamsii@TommyWLOX@AndrewWilsonWX

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