Category 4 Storm, Hurricane Joaquin, Slamming Bahamas; East Coast Prepares for Flooding

Hurricane Joaquin, a powerful Category 4 storm, has stalled over the central Bahamas, slamming the islands with hurricane-force winds, torrential rain, and storm surge flooding.

Dozens of citizens are trapped within their homes and authorities are not able to reach them. All schools in the Bahamas are closed. Homes have been flooded and roofs have been taken off buildings. So far, there have been no reports of casualties in the Bahamas according to Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency.

Christian minister Dawn Taylor who is located on Eluthera stated that faith would get them through the storm.

“We depend on our God, and as long as he is with us, we will be fine and we will ride out the storm,” she said.

A U.S. Coast Guard container ship has also gone missing after getting caught in Joaquin’s path. The El Faro was traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico from Jacksonville, Florida and reportedly was stuck somewhere near Crooked Island in the Bahamas. The ship has 33 crew members on board. The Coast Guard told CNN that when they last heard, the ship had been taking on water, but the flooding had been contained. As of right now, communications with the ship have stopped. The Air Force has been helping with the search for the missing ship and crew.

Hurricane Joaquin is not expected to make landfall on the U.S. but five East Coast states have still declared a state of emergency for potential torrential rain and severe flooding. Two lives have been claimed by the storm in the Carolinas where heavy rain has fallen for days. Four inches of rain was dumped in South Carolina causing flash floods that submerged several cars.

The National Hurricane Center reported to Fox News that the storm could near the U.S. East Coast on Sunday or Monday. The storm is expected to make a significant turn to the north on Friday and Saturday, leaving the Bahamas by late Friday evening.

Dangerous Joaquin Now a Category 4 Hurricane

Hurricane Joaquin intensified to an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm Thursday afternoon, and continues to hammer the central Bahamas with hurricane-force winds, storm surge flooding and torrential rain.

The most severe flooding reported so far was on Acklins island, where power went off overnight and phones were down. Some of the roughly 565 people who live there were trapped in their homes. Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency.Russell said.

Virginia, North Carolina and New Jersey were the latest to declare a state of emergency, warning residents that the severe weather already predicted could be significantly worse if Joaquin veers northwestward. East coast states are alerting residents to prepare as potentially historic rainfall and flooding is set to create havoc into the weekend whether or not Hurricane Joaquin makes U.S. Landfall.  

With the Category 4 hurricane passing close to the islands at a relatively slow speed, a catastrophic situation may unfold there with a prolonged period of intense hurricane conditions. Intense flooding and storm surge is expected to continue.