Joaquin was a category 4 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) whose strong winds and storm surge devastated Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador in the central and southeastern Bahamas. Joaquin took the lives of 34 people--all at sea--including the 33 crewmembers of the cargo ship El Faro, which sunk during the storm northeast of Crooked Island. Joaquin is the strongest October hurricane known to have affected the Bahamas since 1866 and the strongest Atlantic hurricane of non-tropical origin in the satellite era.
There is an excellent report on Joaquin available from the NHC (PDF).
Ana originated from a non-tropical low and made landfall along the northeastern coast of South Carolina, causing minor wind damage, some beach erosion, and one direct death in North Carolina. More here from the NHC.
2016 North Atlantic Preliminary Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Tracks from the NWS:
2015 North Atlantic Hurricane Season Track Map:
Things have turned for the worse on the Rocky Bay webcam in the last hour:
It sounds as if the Bahamas are really taking a beating. Joaquin is currently a major hurricane and just seems to be parked over the island chain. The Bahamas webcams don't look that bad at the moment (10 a.m. ET, Friday, October 2nd) but that is probably due to the location. The eye seems to be over Long Island/Great Exuma - hoping that all is well there.
The ECMWF is the EU outfit that called the landfall of Sandy almost exactly 10 days out. The NHC currently has landfall (as of 10:30 PM ET on Wed. night) around Cape Hatteras on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 4th. The ECMWF model has it several hundred miles offshore. We'll see -
We weren't on top of Joaquin at first - but now that it looks to be parked over the Bahamas and affecting the Caribbean region we'll try to keep more up to date. This is a strange one - popped up in an unusual spot, and has the forecasters quite perplexed as to where it eventually heads.
HURRICANE JOAQUIN DISCUSSION NUMBER 12
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL112015
500 PM EDT WED SEP 30 2015
There has been little change in the organization of Joaquin during
the past several hours. While the hurricane continues to produce
cloud tops colder than -80C in the eyewall, the eye has not become
better defined since the last advisory. Satellite intensity
estimates are 77 kt from both TAFB and SAB, so the advisory
intensity is now 75 kt.
The initial motion is 225/7. The shortwave ridge causing this
motion is expected to weaken during the next 24-48 hours as a strong
deep-layer trough develops over the southeastern United States.
Thus, a generally southwestward motion is expected for the next 36
hours or so, followed by a turn toward the north as the trough
becomes the dominant steering mechanism. There is an increased
disagreement between the GFS, UKMET, Canadian, and NAVGEM models
versus the ECMWF since the last advisory. The ECMWF has continued
its forecast of showing a northeastward motion after 72 hours,
taking Joaquin just west of Bermuda and out to sea. The other
models have all shifted their forecasts to the left and now
call for landfall in the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic states,
followed by merger with the baroclinic trough. Given the shift in
the non-ECMWF models, a major westward adjustment has been made to
the forecast track at 96 and 120 hours, bringing the center of
Joaquin near or over portions of the mid-Atlantic states. Due to
the use of the ECMWF in the consensus models, the new track lies
near the various consensus models. However, it lies well to the
east of the GFS and the other similar models. The NOAA G-IV jet is
currently flying a synoptic surveillance mission, which, along with
special rawinsonde launches, hopefully will reduce the spread of the
There is little change to the intensity forecast philosophy since
the last advisory. Joaquin is expected to remain in an environment
of moderate northeasterly vertical shear for the next 24-36 hours,
possibly including strong winds seen at 400 mb in recent dropsondes
from the G-IV aircraft. However, since it has been steadily
strengthening in such an environment, there is no obvious reason to
think it will stop doing so. After 36 hours, the hurricane is
likely to move into an area of divergent southerly upper-level winds
associated with the eastern U. S. trough. While there is
uncertainty as to how much shear should occur, it is expected that
additional intensification could occur through at least 48 hours.
Based on this, the intensity forecast calls for Joaquin to peak as a
major hurricane in 48-72 hours, and it is possible it could be
stronger than currently forecast. After 72 hours, increasing shear,
cold air intrusion, and land interaction should cause weakening and
the start of extratropical transition.
1. Preparations to protect life and property within the warning
areas in the Bahamas should be rushed to completion.
2. A significant adjustment to the forecast has been made this
afternoon, and this shows an increased threat to the mid-Atlantic
states and the Carolinas. However, confidence in the details of the
forecast after 72 hours remains low, since we have one normally
excellent model that keeps Joaquin far away from the United States
east coast. The range of possible outcomes is still large, and
includes the possibility of a major hurricane landfall in the
3. Every effort is being made to provide the forecast models with
as much data as possible. The NOAA G-IV jet has begun a series of
missions in the storm environment, and the National Weather Service
is launching extra balloon soundings.
4. Because landfall, if it occurs, is still more than three days
away, it is too early to talk about specific wind, rain, or surge
impacts from Joaquin in the United States. Even if Joaquin stays
well out to sea, strong onshore winds will create minor to moderate
coastal flooding along the coasts of the mid-Atlantic and
northeastern states through the weekend.
5. A hurricane watch for a portion of the U.S. coast could be
required as early as Thursday evening.
6. Many areas of the eastern U.S. are currently experiencing heavy
rains and gusty winds associated with a frontal system. This
inclement weather is expected to continue over the next few days,
which could complicate preparations for Joaquin should it head
toward the coast, and greatly exacerbate the impacts from the
hurricane. Heavy rains are likely to continue over these areas
even if the center of Joaquin stays out to sea.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 30/2100Z 24.3N 73.1W 75 KT 85 MPH
12H 01/0600Z 24.0N 73.8W 85 KT 100 MPH
24H 01/1800Z 23.9N 74.5W 90 KT 105 MPH
36H 02/0600Z 24.5N 75.0W 95 KT 110 MPH
48H 02/1800Z 25.8N 75.0W 100 KT 115 MPH
72H 03/1800Z 30.5N 74.5W 100 KT 115 MPH
96H 04/1800Z 36.0N 75.5W 85 KT 100 MPH
120H 05/1800Z 38.5N 76.5W 55 KT 65 MPH
Meteorological - FLASH FLOOD WATCH
Issued By: NWS San Juan (San Juan, Puerto Rico) Affected Jurisdictions:
St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas Counties
Headline: Flash Flood Watch issued August 27 at 11:03AM AST until August 28
at 12:00PM AST by NWS San Juan
...Tropical Storm Erika Will Bring Flooding Rains Across Portionsof The
Local Islands Tonight Through Friday Morning......Flash Flood Watch In
Effect Through Friday Morning...The National Weather Service In San Juan Has
Issued A* Flash Flood Watch For Puerto Rico And U.S. Virgin Islands.*
Through Friday Morning* There Is A Potential For Flooding Rainfall Across
Puerto Ricoand The U.S. Virgin Islands As Tropical Storm Erika Moves
Acrossthe Eastern Caribbean. Rainfall Forecasts Over The Local Areaare
Expected To Be Between 4 And 8 Inches With Isolated Maximumsof 12 Inches
Possible. Due To Heavy Rains Across Portions Of Thewestern Interior Of
Puerto Rico Over The Past Few Weeks...Theirsoils Are Super
Saturated...Therefore Significant Flooding Mayoccur In That Region.
Regardless Of The Antecedent Soilconditions...Localized Flash Flooding And
Land Slides Arepossible In Areas Of High Intensity Tropical
Downpours...Which can Occur With Tropical Storm Erika.
A Flash Flood Watch Means That Conditions May Develop That Leadto Flash
Flooding. Flash Flooding Is A Very Dangerous Situation.You Should Monitor
Later Forecasts And Be Prepared To Take Actionshould Flash Flood Warnings Be
Virgin Islands Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe provided the public with an update regarding the US Virgin Islands' airports and seaports as the agency prepares for the arrival of Tropical Storm Erika which is expected to affect the territory tomorrow.
There are no plans to close the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix or the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas today, said Dowe. VIPA will make an assessment and determine if the airports will be open tomorrow, August 27. The Port Authority is in constant communication with the airlines and will report any flight cancellations it receives.
Reported Flight Cancellations
Aug. 27th - all flights
In the event of a storm, the US Coast Guard takes the lead in the closure and re-opening of the seaports, said Dowe. The US Coast Guard has determined that all seaports in the territory will be closed at 6 p.m. today to all inbound commercial vessels. Ferry service to Tortola, BVI will be provided by Native Son from the E. W. Blyden Marine Terminal at 2:30 p.m. and from the Urman Fredericks Marine Terminal in Red Hook at 3:30 p.m. Ferry and barge service between St. Thomas and St. John will continue through midnight today.
The seaports will be closed to all vessels on Thursday, August 27 at 6 a.m. No ferry or barge services will be allowed. The US Coast Guard will determine when the seaports can be re-opened once the storm has passed, Dowe said.
The public is reminded to call the airlines, ferry and barge services directly for accurate schedule information.
It doesn't look like Erika will achieve hurricane status as the storm approaches the Caribbean - although it still may days from now as it nears the Bahamas (if the current forecast holds).
From the NHC:
TROPICAL STORM ERIKA INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 7A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL052015
200 PM AST WED AUG 26 2015
...ERIKA CONTINUES WESTWARD...
...NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT ON ITS WAY TO INVESTIGATE
SUMMARY OF 200 PM AST...1800 UTC...INFORMATION
ABOUT 245 MI...395 KM ESE OF ANTIGUA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...45 MPH...75 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 280 DEGREES AT 17 MPH...28 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1005 MB...29.68 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Saba and St. Eustatius
* St. Maarten
* St. Martin
* St. Barthelemy
* Antigua and Barbuda
* St. Kitts and Nevis
* Puerto Rico
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* British Virgin Islands
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area, generally within 36
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are
possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
Interests in the Dominican Republic, the southeastern Bahamas, and
the Turks and Caicos Islands should monitor the progress of Erika.
A Tropical Storm Watch may be required for a portion of the
Dominican Republic later today.
For storm information specific to your area in the United
States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please
monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service
forecast office. For storm information specific to your area outside
the United States, please monitor products issued by your national
DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
At 200 PM AST (1800 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Erika was
located near latitude 16.3 North, longitude 58.2 West. Erika is
moving toward the west near 17 mph (28 km/h), and a west to
west-northwestward motion is expected over the next 48 hours.
On the forecast track, the center of Erika will move near or over
portions of the Leeward Islands tonight, move near the Virgin
Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday, and be near or just north of
the north coast of the Dominican Republic on Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts.
Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km)
primarily to the east of the center.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 mb (29.68 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the
warning area in the Leeward Islands tonight, and reach the Virgin
Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are
possible in the watch area tonight and early Thursday. Tropical
storm conditions could reach portions of the Dominican Republic on
RAINFALL: Erika is expected to produce total rain accumulations of
3 to 5 inches with maximum amounts of 8 inches across portions of
the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico through
Next complete advisory at 500 PM AST.
Well Danny thankfully ran out of steam and produced much needed rain - but now Erika is following right behind. Erika looks to be gearing up a bit and need watching -
TROPICAL STORM ERIKA DISCUSSION NUMBER 4
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL052015
500 PM AST TUE AUG 25 2015
After becoming quite disorganized in appearance earlier today,
Erika has made a bit of a comeback with increased deep convection
near and to the south of the center. Data from the Air Force
Hurricane Hunters indicate that the intensity is near 35 kt and
this is consistent with Dvorak estimates from both TAFB and SAB.
Erika has limited upper-level outflow over the northern semicircle
of the circulation, and microwave data suggest that the cyclone has
been ingesting some dry mid-level air. As in the previous
forecast, there is considerable uncertainty as to the future
intensity of this tropical cyclone. The SHIPS guidance indicates
increasing west-northwesterly shear over the next few days, and the
GFS and ECMWF global models do not strengthen the system during the
forecast period. The HWRF and GFDL models do show strengthening,
however, but along a track to the right of most of the guidance.
The official intensity forecast has been reduced a bit from the
previous one and is close to the model consensus.
A center fix from the aircraft indicates that the motion continues
to be near 280/17. A mid-level subtropical ridge to the north of
Erika should steer the system on a west-northwestward track for the
next several days. Late in the forecast period, there is
significant spread in the models, with those models that depict a
weaker system being farther south and west and those having a
stronger cyclone farther to the north and east. The official track
forecast has been adjusted a little to the left of the previous one
and is in line with the latest dynamical model consensus.
Some of the tropical storm watches for the islands of the
northeastern Caribbean may need to be changed to warnings on the
next advisory package.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 25/2100Z 15.6N 52.8W 35 KT 40 MPH
12H 26/0600Z 16.1N 55.1W 35 KT 40 MPH
24H 26/1800Z 16.7N 58.4W 40 KT 45 MPH
36H 27/0600Z 17.4N 61.4W 45 KT 50 MPH
48H 27/1800Z 18.2N 64.3W 50 KT 60 MPH
72H 28/1800Z 20.3N 69.7W 50 KT 60 MPH
96H 29/1800Z 22.5N 74.0W 55 KT 65 MPH
120H 30/1800Z 25.0N 78.0W 65 KT 75 MPH