While all eyes have been watching Joaquin for its potential impacts on the Eastern Seaboard, the powerful hurricane has been raking over the vulnerable islands of the Bahamas since Wednesday with winds up to 100 mph and a dangerous storm surge.
Joaquin is crawling through the Central Bahamas with a forward motion of just 6 mph, prolonging the islands’ time spent in the most dangerous part of the hurricane. Hooper’s Bay in the Exuma islands saw wind gusts close to 60 mph on Thursday, and the center of the storm was still over 100 miles away. Recent hurricane hunter missions found surface winds of 100 mph over the islands of the central Bahamas.
A dangerous storm surge is pushing water levels up to 10 feet above normal tides. Very few photos have surfaced from the Bahamas but those that have show an incredible storm surge over Long Island and Acklins Island.
Hurricane Joaquin is the first Category 4 storm to track through the Bahamas in October since 1866.
In addition to the storm surge, widespread rainfall totals of 10 to 15 inches are expected in the central Bahamas, with isolated amounts up to 20 inches.
Unfortunately Hurricane Joaquin is not expected to move out of the region until at least Friday afternoon — forecast models and the National Hurricane Center continue to suggest that Joaquin will drift slowly through the islands as it makes a turn to the north over the next 24 hours.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Central Bahamas and the Northwestern Bahamas, as well as the Acklins, Crooked Island and Mayaguana in the Southeast Bahamas. A hurricane watch has been posted for Andros Island and Bimini.
Georgetown, Great Exuma: