Hurricane Joaquin Strengthens to Category 3, Eyes East Coast

PHOTO: NOAA Satellite Imagery of Hurricane Joaquin is seen here, Sept. 30, 2015.PlayNOAA
WATCH East Coast Braces for Hurricane Joaquin

The 10th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Joaquin, has strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane.

It currently has winds of 115 mph, is located 90 miles east of San Salvador, Bahamas, and is moving southwest at 6 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane warnings have been posted for the central and northwestern Bahamas, and a hurricane watch is issued for Bimini. These islands can expect hurricane conditions starting by Thursday morning.

A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet above sea level will occur, and waves will be large and dangerous along the coast.

PHOTO: Over the next 48 hours The Bahamas will be affected by hurricane conditions from Joaquim.ABC News
Over the next 48 hours The Bahamas will be affected by hurricane conditions from Joaquim.

More than 10 inches of rainfall can be expected over the central Bahamas, but some rain totals may reach 20 inches in the islands of San Salvador and Rum Cay, where Joaquin will sit over for the next two days. Lesser amounts of 2 to 5 inches will fall in the southeastern and northwestern Bahamas.

PHOTO: Hurricane Watches and Warnings have been posted for the Bahamas.ABC News
Hurricane Watches and Warnings have been posted for the Bahamas.

Joaquin is expected to linger over the eastern Bahamas through Friday as a hurricane. Overnight Friday into Saturday morning, the unusually warm waters are expected to allow Joaquin to strengthen into a category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds as it starts to turn north.

After this northerly turn, the path becomes uncertain through the rest of the weekend as it interacts with a trough over the eastern United States.

PHOTO: Although forecast uncertainty remains, here is the path through Monday as of the 11AM Advisory on September 30.ABC News
Although forecast uncertainty remains, here is the path through Monday as of the 11AM Advisory on September 30.

"Confidence in the details of the track forecast late in the period remains low," the National Hurricane Center said. "A wide range of outcomes is possible, from a direct impact of a major hurricane along the U.S. East Coast to a track of Joaquin out to sea away from the coast."

PHOTO: Here are various models showing the predicted paths of Hurricane Joaquin.ABC News
Here are various models showing the predicted paths of Hurricane Joaquin.

It is still too early to determine the exact impacs that Joaquin may or may not have on the United States, but regardless of the final track that Joaquin takes -- a surge of tropical moisture is expected to drench the East Coast, bringing several more inches of rain to an already soaked region.

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