Hurricane Joaquin’s Projected Path Looks Bad for Philly

It's early. It's not time to panic. But Hurricane Joaquin is strengthening, and the forecast for the Philly area already looks wet.

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[UPDATE: 12:00 P.M., October 1st] Hurricane Joaquin Moves North; Will It Make Landfall? No matter what Hurricane Joaquin does, it looks like we’re in for a wet next couple of days. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie today declared a state of emergency, readying itself for the first major storm since Superstorm Sandy hit coast three years.

[ORIGINAL] The forecasted path for Hurricane Joaquin is not looking good for the Philadelphia area.

The National Hurricane Center upgraded Joaquin from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane earlier today, and now says it is strengthening. It’s currently moving southwest toward the Bahamas, but by early next week appears destined to hit the Philadelphia area. The NHS says that “additional strengthening is expected, and Joaquin could become a major hurricane during the next couple of days.” Per the NHC, parts of the East Coast could be under a hurricane watch as soon as Thursday night. It’s looking like Joaquin would hit the area on Sunday or Monday, if it does.

At noon today, the National Weather Service’s Philadelphia/Mt. Holly bureau released a daily briefing: “A dangerous weather pattern is developing for our region. Threats include very heavy rainfall, inland river flooding, as well as major coastal flooding with heavy surf and beach erosion. These impacts will be felt this week from a storm system affecting the region. There is now also the potential for major impacts from Hurricane Joaquin affecting the region this weekend into early next week.”

The NWS says 4-10 inches of rain could soak the region, and that weather will complicate preparations if a hurricane hits us early next week.

A word on the above forecast track, provided by the National Hurricane Center. The “cone” in that image is not the storm’s projected size; it is the possible path it could take. Either way, we’re going to get a lot of rain. Right after Pope Weekend (Live 8 plus a snowstorm), we’re headed for a disruptive weather event.

The good folks at Phillywx have a detailed post on the factors that could force Joaquin offshore or hit the area directly. No matter the track of Joaquin, the forecast says we’re in line for a wet end of the week even if it stays offshore — especially in South Jersey and closer to the shore.

Fox 29’s Kathy Orr tells us not to panic, but we’ll be watching the bread aisle closely the next few days to see if people have done so. Phillywx advises waiting until tomorrow to make any alterations to plans; we’ll know more by then.

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Meanwhile, if this storm does hit us, I suggest we start calling it Hurricane Jacquin’s.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.