UPDATE: Hurricane Joaquin expected to move farther east

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Joaquin Friday Morning
Forecasters predict Hurricane Joaquin will not make direct landfall in the Cape Fear Region, but will still bring heavy rains and life-threatening flooding. Photo Courtesy of NOAA

UPDATE: Friday, 8:05 a.m.

Forecasters have reduced the chance of Hurricane Joaquin making direct landfall in the Cape Fear Region to five percent.

The ground is saturated in many locations and the risk for excessive rainfall is moderate to high across our area. As a result, some areas may see life threatening flooding develop through Sunday.

Officials with the National Weather Service expect seven to 10 inches of rain and 30 to 35 mph wind gusts are still predicted for Sunday into Monday for the Southeast North Carolina.


UPDATE: Thursday, 7:45 p.m.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service (NWS) expect Joaquin to upgrade into a Category 5 later this evening, but have lowered the chances of Joaquin making a direct hit on the Cape Fear Region to 20 percent as models continue to project a more northeasterly path.

However, the potential for heavy rainfall, regardless if Joaquin stays off the coast, is high. As a result, some areas may see life-threatening flooding develop through Sunday.

The increase in flooding is due to the addition of another weather system from the northwest Caribbean and the eastern Gulf of Mexico spreading over the southeast tonight and tomorrow. NWS officials expect this weather system will bring about 2 to 5 inches of rainfall.

There will be a lull in precipitation on Saturday, with rain picking up again on Sunday morning as Hurricane Joaquin approaches the North Carolina coastline. Forecasters expect Joaquin to be downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane at this time, but are predicting 3 to 6 inches of rain from Sunday into early Tuesday morning.

Port City Daily will continue to update the story as new information becomes available.


UPDATE: Thursday, 2 p.m.

Joaquin has become an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. With winds up to 135 mph, the storm is expected to move through the Bahamas tonight.

Port City Daily will continue to update the story as new information becomes available.


Hurricane Joaquin was upgraded to a Category 3 overnight and will move through the Bahamas today, with forecasters predicting another upgrade to a Category 4 later this afternoon and a 30 percent chance of landfall off the northern coast of North Carolina early Monday morning.

A coastal flood advisory is currently in effect from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and forecasters have issued a flood watch for the entire southeastern area, effective beginning 8 p.m. Thursday. This includes Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender, Columbus and Robeson counties.

When it comes to the storm’s impact on the Cape Fear region, Steve Pfaff of the National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington believes the storm will be an “all or nothing” event for us locally.

“We’ll start to see the tropical storm wind gusts from Joaquin by Saturday afternoon and into Saturday night, with the potential for higher gusts Sunday morning and into Sunday evening,” said Pfaff. “Confidence is high we’re going to have flooding; it’s just a matter of how much and who gets it.”

Regardless of Joaquin’s eventual track, heavy rainfall is expected to impact the area beginning later today through the weekend. Since rainfall will be falling into an area already saturated over the past week, flooding is expected to quickly develop with rainfall of 10 inches or more. Weather from Joaquin will merge with precipitation coming off the Gulf Coast, and heavy rains will ensue on Sunday evening and into Monday morning.

Power outages and flooding could occur in some areas, and property owners are encouraged to clear drainage ditches. City of Wilmington crews are currently making preparations for Hurricane Joaquin and are checking for clogged storm drains in problem areas.


The NWS advises everyone to be prepared for potential hurricanes and flooding in the area. You can find more information on hurricane preparedness here, and click here for tips on flood preparation.