Uncertainty over JOAQUIN but more votes for an offshore track.
All eyes on category four hurricane JOAQUIN. Until this turns, there remains great uncertainty however cloud patterns are showing increasing activity to the west and south which is driving more modellers to follow the European commentators towards a dramatic turn north east and a track which may be a little further east than previously feared. If this were to take place, the hurricane would avoid a direct hit and lose a little strength as it passes the Outer Banks of North Carolina but may then curve back and risk a landfall between the Delaware River and Maine but perhaps a little weaker. A considerable number of commentators are still expecting a landfall in North Carolina. Without knowing when the turn will occur, this remains a matter of conjecture and is like trying to shoot fish in a barrel . I hope the European modellers have this right.
Currently centred 55 miles south east of San Salvador Island, Bahamas, JOAQUIN has lost some forward speed and is down to 4 knots. This is bad news for the Bahamas where a fast pass would at least minimise time for damage to occur. A reconnaissance aircraft has just passed overhead (not the most sought after task for an aviator, I'd imagine. Wasn't this kind of work once described as Kamikaze?) and recorded merciless wind speeds of between 110 and 130 knots. The only good news is that this may be close to peak however the windfield is still increasing and expected to reach a radius of 225 miles later.
The current hurricane severity rating is 22 out of a possible 50 points (9 size, 13 intensity) and expected to peak at 28 out of a possible 50 points (12 size, 16 intensity.) This remains a nasty storm and will be very bad news indeed as it passes over the central Bahamas. This will take a little energy from JOAQUIN but is still likely to be a category two hurricane as it leaves the Bahamas in its wake.
Skulking away unnoticed in the shadows, some six hundred miles east of JOAQUIN, disturbance forty nine is milling around having shifted slightly east overnight. A looping motion back to the west is expected during the next few days but there is no immediate threat to land and the disturbance remains disorganised.
Stand by Bahamas and eastern seaboard.