Since yesterday, Joaquin has intensified into a Category 1 Hurricane. This storm continues to strengthen, and I see no reason why that would stop over the next 72 hours. The 5pm advisory from the National Hurricane Center is close to a "worst case scenario" for us in Southern Maryland. Tonight, I'm going to walk you through why this is happening, how the weekend is looking right now, and what you should be doing at this moment. For information on the different track scenarios, scroll down past the Rainfall Forecast.
This is a very difficult pattern to explain. On the map below, white arrows are steering winds. Anyway, here's the skinny of the setup:
As everything stands right now, it appears that Joaquin will get "picked up" by the Jet Stream, and flung somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic. The strong high to the north will prevent it from going too far up the coast, and will also help to back Joaquin into the coastline. Lastly, Ida's Remnants are going to be the biggest influence on this forecast. Right now, Ida's Remnants are forcing Joaquin to go down to the southwest, towards the Bahamas. That track was always forecasted. However, if Ida's Remnants continue to force Joaquin down to the southwest tomorrow afternoon, the Jet Stream will instead fling it out to sea. The European model has shown this type of a solution, thus, cannot be written off. If Ida's Remnants were not there, this forecast would be ten times easier, as we could say with confidence that this will track into the Mid-Atlantic.
Weekend Forecast Discussion
Before Hurricane Joaquin even became a worry, the threat of heavy rain was always in the forecast from that Non-Tropical Low as shown above. Right now, it appears that we'll see impacts from that feature starting Thursday Afternoon (originally Friday) and through the day Sunday. How much rain will we see? Take a look below at the rainfall forecast. Remember, 4-8" of rain in SoMD is without Joaquin. Now do you see the flooding issue Joaquin could pose? This amount of rain alone would case serious issues.
Now we talk about Hurricane Joaquin's possible impact on our region. The National Hurricane Center's newest forecast take what could be a category 2 storm, right up the Chesapeake, with a direct hit on Southern Maryland. I could not think of a worse track. The only other track that would be slightly worse is if the storm tracks more to west (or left). Below are my different scenarios on what could happen:
SCENARIO A (50%)
MID ATLANTIC LANDFALL
This is the worse case scenario, and the one that the National Hurricane Center is adverting. How does this scenario play out? The storm gets pulled north by the Jet Stream, and flung into the coastline from the strong high. With this, landfall could be anywhere from Southern New Jersey to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. What would this mean for us? Well, I'll go in the middle with a Virginia Beach landfall as a Category 2 storm (like the Hurricane Center has), and here are the impacts:
SCENARIO B (30%)
This scenario would be better than Scenario A, but is also no walk in the park. How does this scenario play out? The storm gets pulled north by the Jet Stream, like with Scenario A. However, the high is stronger and/or further south, and the storm gets flung into the coastline further south. The storm would go north after landfall, just over land. With this, landfall could be anywhere from Virginia Beach to the South Carolina/North Carolina line. What would this mean for us? Well, I'll go in the middle with a Cape Hatteras landfall as a Category 2 storm, and here are the impacts:
SCENARIO C (20%)
OUT TO SEA
This scenario is the best case one. How does this scenario play out? The storm interacts too much the remnants of Ida, continues to move southwest over the next 36 hours, and gets "ejected" out to sea by the Jet Stream. With this, it would be as if Joaquin had never even formed in terms of impacts here. What would this mean for us? Here are the impacts:
Putting it All Together
Now that you know what we're going to be dealing with, and why, what should you be doing right now? Well, at the moment, you just need to keep it locked in with JB Weather and start thinking of what you would do if Scenario A occurred. Pray for the best case scenario, but be thinking what you'll do if the worst case happens. No need to run out to the stores just yet, but be aware. Below is an image of the areas that need to be aware of Joaquin:
Right now, I expect periods of heavy rain with some wind starting Thursday Afternoon through Sunday. If Joaquin does in fact come into the coast, we'd see more heavy rain with wind Sunday into Monday. Keep in mind, nothing is set in stone with Joaquin, and all scenarios are still on the table. Tomorrow afternoon and evening, I'll be able to say with more certainty what will happen. Until then, keep it tuned in with us here at JB Weather. The weather team is working around the clock to keep you all informed. Next advisory on Joaquin comes in at 11pm tonight. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.