Steady rainfall has already soaked much of the East Coast this week, flooding roadways, closing down schools and forcing some people from their homes. But forecasters are warning that the worst is yet to come as Hurricane Joaquin could make things much worse now through the first part of next week. The huge weather system is being forecast to dump large amounts of rain from the Carolinas up into New England as it affects the eastern portion of the country. Joaquin is now a Category 3 hurricane as it is bears down on the central Bahama islands. The hurricane is expected to take a track that will lead it to the eastern coastline of the United States by this coming weekend.
As of early Thursday morning, Joaquin was packing winds of around 115 miles per hour which extended over 30 miles from the center of the storm as it churned in the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center predicts that the system will develop into a more menacing, larger storm over the next few days. North Carolina, Virginia, portions of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey are likely to see heavy rainfall over the next few days due to the storm.
There were numerous school closings Tuesday in parts of southwestern Virginia due to flooded roads. Dozens of people in Salem, VA were rescued from an apartment complex and mobile home park. A water rescue team in Montgomery County rescued school children from an elementary school bus on Tuesday due to heavy rainfall washing out a road.
Virginia’s governor’s office is urging state residents to keep an eye on the local forecast and to make plans for staying safe in the event of flooding. People in that state are being reminded of the dangers of driving in flood waters and are being told to turn around if they encounter flooded roads.
Hurricane Joaquin is the third hurricane of the Atlantic season. As the eye of the storm was passing over the Bahamas Wednesday night, people living on the eastern seaboard of the United States were being warned to prepare for the storm that may make landfall there sometime over the next few days even though the storm’s exact track is unclear. However, the National Hurricane Center says that Joaquin will likely impact the US East Coast by Sunday.