Friday, October 02, 2015

Hurricane Joaquin, Category 4, Batters Bahamas

Hurricane Joaquin is causing flooding in lightly populated parts of the Bahamas as "an extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm, and could strengthen further, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Joaquin is moving at only six kilometers per hour as it passes over the island chain, with sustained winds of 215 kph (125 mph) and winds reaching out 80 kilometers from the eye of the storm.

The National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to speed up and turn north, toward the U.S., over the next day or so. Some further strengthening is possible on Friday.

It is the third hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season.

Forecasters predicted storm surges of 1.5 to 3 meters (5 to 10 feet) in the central Bahamas, with up to 51 centimeters (20 inches) of rain in some areas.

San Salvador, Cat Island and Rum Cay were expected to experience the most significant effects before the storm shifts northward.

U.S. officials in states along the East Coast began preparations for the storm, which could possibly make landfall early next week, nearly three years after Superstorm Sandy devastated New York and New Jersey, killing more than 120 people and causing about $70 billion in property damage.

The storm could also affect U.S. military facilities in coastal Virginia as well as the major inland cities of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia.



  1. A container ship whose crew includes 28 Americans is missing near the eye of Hurricane Joaquin as the sprawling storm readies to send possibly historic flooding to the U.S. East Coast this weekend....

    The ship El Faro, carrying the 28 U.S. citizens and five others, was still missing Friday near the Bahamas after the U.S.-flagged ship sent a distress signal a day earlier to the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency said Friday.

    A C-130 airplane searched for the vessel Friday morning, but was unable to make contact, said Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor.......CNN

    1. The US Coast Guard resumed its search early Saturday across Bahamian waters for a disabled cargo ship with 33 crewmembers, including 28 Americans, that lost contact during Hurricane Joaquin, which was moving away from the sprawling archipelago...

      The 735-foot (224-meter) ship named El Faro had taken on water and was earlier reported to be listing at 15 degrees near Crooked Island, one of the islands most battered by the hurricane. The Coast Guard said it hadn't been able to re-establish communication with the vessel, which was traveling from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, when it was disabled by the storm.

      Officials said the crew — 28 Americans and five Poles — earlier reported they had been able to contain the flooding. The Coast Guard said it had covered more than 850 square miles in its search so far.

      "We're going to go and try and save lives. We're going to push it to the operational limits as far as we can," Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor said of rescue efforts.

      Fedor said there were 20- to 30-foot (up to 9-meter) waves in the area, and that heavy winds could have destroyed the ship's communications equipment. The ship went missing when Joaquin was a Category 4 storm. The hurricane has since weakened to a Category 3.

      Late Friday, the Coast Guard said the planes and helicopters involved in the search had returned to base because of darkness.

      Florida-based TOTE Services, the ship's owner, said in a brief statement that it was working with the Coast Guard and trying to establish communication with the craft.

      Joaquin, meanwhile, was moving away from the Bahamas on Saturday. Its threat to the U.S. East Coast was fading as new forecasts showed it was likely to curve out into the Atlantic while moving north and weakening in coming days....AP


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