Joaquin now a Category 4 hurricane; Impact on New England still possible

While a lot of uncertainty remains, we should stay aware of changes to the forecast.

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The 11am update from the National Hurricane Center continues to have New England in potential path of Hurricane Joaquin, although the path is trending to the east.

The “cone of uncertainty” is a broad forecast area where the center of Joaquin may pass. This cone has shifted slightly farther east than Thursday’s early morning forecast, to still include Southern New England and the greater New York City area, while taking Joaquin slightly farther away from most of North Carolina.

There is still a large difference in the various hurricane forecast computer models used to predict the path of Joaquin. That being said, the American computer model known as the GFS (Global Forecasting System) is now coming into more agreement with the European Computer Model (ECMWF) and takes Joaquin out to sea, while others still forecast a U.S. landfall.

As far as timing is concerned, any Southern New England impact looks to be early next week (Monday/Tuesday) with improving weather by the middle of next week.

Joaquin intensified to a Category 4 hurricane Thursday afternoon, with sustained winds of up to 130 miles per hour. The storm is expected to weaken as it moves north, and if it were to hit the United States, it would do so as a weak hurricane or a tropical storm.

While now is not the time to panic, given the uncertainty with the forecast it is important to stay up to date with the newest information regarding the changing path of this storm.

A Southern New England impact would mainly bring concerns for inland flooding, with damaging winds being a secondary concern.

Watch 22News for any updates on the track and intensity of Joaquin.

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