Tropical Storm Joaquin was located about 405 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas at 4 pm this Tuesday afternoon. Satellite imagery shows that strong shear which has been affecting the storm was beginning to relax, and the storm has responded with steady intensification. The National Hurricane Center now expects the storm to become a hurricane within 24 hours as it moves slowly west southwest. Tropical storm conditions could reach the Bahamas by Thursday morning.
Current model guidance is very supportive of Joaquin moving slowly west southwest over the next 48 hours. Beyond that point, there is an extreme range of guidance that is literally thousands of miles apart in some cases. The official forecast calls for the storm to turn north or north northeast on Thursday and accelerate – while tracking about midway between the North Carolina coast and Bermuda. Beyond 48 hours, confidence in any forecast or model solution should be viewed as low. At this point, anyone from the Bahamas and Bermuda to the east coast of the United States should keep a close watch.