RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia will see a prolonged period of heavy rainfall from late Thursday through Saturday. This will be from a stalled cold front along the east coast and an area of low pressure developing near the North Carolina coast. Tropical moisture from Joaquin will get fed into this system, enhancing the rainfall amounts.
Rainfall totals just by Saturday evening could exceed four inches in some areas. Flood watches will likely be issued before Friday morning. The heaviest rain will fall Friday into Saturday. Although some moisture will be from Joaquin, this rain will not be from the hurricane itself.
Wind gusts after Sunday morning will increase as Joaquin moves closer. The exact track will determine how strong the winds get.
Joaquin became a hurricane Wednesday morning just east of the Bahamas, and wind speeds had increased to over 100 m.p.h. by 8 p.m. Wednesday, making it a category two hurricane.
The updated official track from the National Hurricane Center brings the center of Joaquin near the Outer Banks and then towards eastern Virginia. It is very important to point out that this forecast track is preliminary and covers a time period of four to five days out. Significant changes to the forecast track may occur over the next few days. The forecast also includes Joaquin reaching category 3 strength (winds over 110 m.p.h) by Saturday morning while it is over the open Atlantic. Wind speeds would decrease a bit before landfall.
While the official track moves the storm into eastern Virginia, our latest spaghetti plot of all the computer models favor a landfall in central or southern North Carolina.
This forecast track will likely change quite a bit over the next few days, so check back for updated forecasts.
It is still a few days out, so don't panic, but think about how to be prepared if a track into Virginia verifies.
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