NJTV News Weather: Joaquin Could Bring Strong Winds and Storm Surge

Joaquin is now an extremely dangerous category four Hurricane. And Gov. Chris Christie’s state of emergency declaration triggered the tools the state’s Emergency Management team needs to prepare. The storm may not make landfall here, but we could still feel it’s effects. Soaking rains and gusting winds could make for a wet and potentially wild weekend. NJTV News Meteorologist John Cifelli told Anchor Mary Alice Williams that New Jersey is already dealing with rainfall, but that it is not associated with Hurricane Joaquin.

“Instead we have a stalled frontal boundary that’s draped just off the east coast, and a wave of low pressure is riding along that stalled boundary and its bringing us some showers already. And its going to bring us some more rainfall over the next 36 hrs or so,” said Cifelli.

Cifelli said Hurricane Joaquin is located just 15-miles north west of Crocked Island in the Bahamas. Joaquin as a category four hurricane has winds of 135 mph and is moving south west at 6 mph. According to Cifelli, the storm is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin since 2000.

As Joaquin is expected to make a shift up north, an east coast landfall has not been discarded and Cifelli said that the possibility of Joaquin moving out to sea and not make an East coast landfall also exists.

“The window is not shut yet, we still could see an east coast landfall but right now the best bet, its going to slide off and stay off shore,” Cifelli said. “We do see the hurricane being category four for the next couple of days. By the time it gets to the latter part of the weekend, it starts to climb a bit further north into some cooler waters, it will start to weaken a little bit. Category three off the coast of North Carolina. By the time it makes its closest approach to New Jersey, we’re looking at a category two, possibly a one and then a tropical storm shortly there after. The important thing to notice, the hurricane logos on the east side of the cone, although the possibilities still there for a landfall along the east coast, I think the best bet is going to be farther off to the east.”

While Joaquin is still located by the Bahamas, some rainfall has made its way to New Jersey. Cifelli said that the rain is expected to continue over the next 24 to 36 hours and that the rain is lighter compared to rain associated with a hurricane. He said that the strongest and heaviest of the rain will be within South and coastal New Jersey.

On the potential effects from Joaquin, Cifelli said that one to three inches of rain are expected by the end of the weekend throughout the state. He also said that some storm surge could be an impact from Joaquin, as well as strong winds, as the hurricane passes far off coast.