When Joaquin Might Make Landfall

Are you living out along the east coast of the United States? If so, there's a gathering storm out in the Atlantic that you should probably keep an eye on — Hurricane Joaquin has varyingly been reported from Category 2 to Category 3 wind speeds so far, and a complicated confluence of storm conditions could push it up into the eastern seaboard. Joaquin hasn't always had hurricane intensity, only having been classified as a tropical storm on Tuesday night, but some weather authorities believe the eastern seaboard should be prepared. So, when will Hurricane Joaquin make landfall?

There are a few different scenarios that are raising concern right now, different tracks that Joaquin took take as it move north up the coast. According to WRAL, it achieved hurricane strength at about 8:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning, just northeast of the Bahamas, and it could be off the coast by Friday through the weekend. While there are still some feasible scenarios that show Joaquin being pulled out into the Atlantic and missing the coast altogether, preparedness is of the essence in situations like these — there are also many forecasts that show Joaquin making landfall anywhere between North Carolina clear up into New York.

As for the timing of it, as illustrated above in a graphic from The Weather Channel, Joaquin could scrape the east coast and really arrive in force between late Sunday and early Monday morning. What force it's maintaining by that time will be pivotal, obviously — a Category 2 hurricane would means wind speed between 96 and 110 miles per hour, while a Category 3 would clock in from 111 to 129.

According to The Boston Globe, however, the United States won't be the first place to feel the storm's effects — it may lead to flooding and heavy downpours in the Bahamas throughout Wednesday.

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So, what should you do? The main thing is to keep a very close eye on the forecasts, because although Joaquin's northward course may still have a number of variables in play right now, as the days tick by it'll become increasingly clear whether it'll smack into the east coast, and which locations could be hardest hit. According to AccuWeather, the most likely landfall is between North Carolina and southern New Jersey, the latter of which hasn't seen a hurricane make landfall since the disastrous Hurricane Sandy back in 2012. Needless to say, everyone should stay aware and stay safe this weekend, because mother nature isn't open to negotiation.