There’s no question that Hurricane Joaquin poses a major threat to the United States. The storm continues to strengthen and many of our computer models are in agreement that the east coast is in trouble.
The GFS, GGEM, and UKMet all agree with the 12z tropical models that a Mid Atlantic hurricane strike is becoming increasingly likely by this weekend. However, uncertainty still abounds as the Euro scoots the storm out to sea unlike the model consensus.
The weather pattern over the eastern half of the continent is a classic one for east coast hurricane hits.
A giant/anomalous ridge stretches from Quebec through the Canadian Maritimes and into the North Atlantic. This effectively prevents to storm from curving out to sea. Additionally, models develop a cut-off low over the Appalachians which is typical in a pattern like this with the large ridge acting as an “omega block”. This should force Joaquin into the coast UNLESS it gets too far south.
If Joaquin is able to drop into the Bahamas and begin drifting east it could find a weakness under the ridge and begin scooting toward Bermuda. This is what the European model continues to show. There’s a weakness in the ridge over the central Atlantic – including the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida. There is a fair chance of this occurring.
Another possible (unlikely) outcome is that the ridge is able to shift east enough and the cut-off low forms later or a bit farther north resulting in a track that puts southern New England in the storm’s crosshairs. This is not the most likely scenario.
At this point the best guess is a low impact event here in Connecticut (minor flooding, minor wind issues, minor coastal flooding) with a major/high impact event possible in the Mid Atlantic. This could change, however, so it’s important to stay tuned to future forecast updates!!