By John Cifelli
NJTV News Meteorologist
The latest five o’clock numbers from the National Weather Center show that Joaquin has really weakened. “We’re down to 125 miles per hour and the minimum pressure up to 192 mb. It’s located 15 miles northwest of San Salvador in the Bahamas and it’s moving north at seven miles per hour,” Cifelli said.
He said it’s a big deal because now that the storm is moving north we’re seeing that critical movement where we know what track the storm is going to take and that’s going to be off the coast. “Looking at the satellite we don’t see an eye, so Joaquin definitely perhaps starting to go through its weakening phase. I think it has peaked in intensity and from here on our we’re on the down side as far as intensity goes,” he said.
The Bahamas have gotten bludgeoned, according to Cifelli, a cargo ship with 35 crew missing. The coast guard is out there, but the waves are 20 to 30 feet and rainfall totals are already in excess of 15 inches of rain in some of the islands. Some of the reporting stations aren’t even sending any signal any longer.
Looking at the wide shot Cifelli point out a long stretch of moisture that’s still being fed by Hurricane Joaquin. “Although we’re not going to see a landfall on the east coast we are seeing an impact. We’re not seeing perhaps Joaquin causing the rain, but what we do have is a coastal front that’s draped just off the coast, Joaquin spreading moisture on top of that and bringing us the rainfall today,” he said.
The radar in New Jersey shows the rain continuing north to south. “We’ve got one heavy band left to go through, that’s off the coast, it will move across the state overnight tonight and will bring one more period of heavy rain, although I do that that the heaviest rain for the time being is over,” he said.
The path of Joaquin is well off the coast. It’s currently a category three and will fade to a two by the time it’s at it’s closest approach to New Jersey. Cifelli still says there’s going to be some impact at the Jersey shore. Most of the rainfall predicted for this weekend, Wednesday through Sunday has already fallen. “I think as far as rainfall goes we’re pretty much out of the woods once we get through that heavy band that still has to come through tonight,” he said.
The most significant impact is going to be at the shore, according to Cifelli. 10 to 15 foot waves off the coastline, pressing a lot of water against the coast. “The north and northeast winds are really going to be battering and backing up the water, not allowing the bays to fill out during low tide, so high tide will bring a lot of coastal flooding. Beach erosion is going to be a major concern,” he said.