What path will Hurricane Joaquin take?

Published 10:15 am Friday, October 2, 2015

The projected path of Hurricane Joaquin as of 10:20 a.m. Friday

The projected path of Hurricane Joaquin as of 10:20 a.m. Friday

Many people in Western Tidewater can remember the endless days without power, the damage to the trees, the flooding of the Blackwater and Nottoway rivers, the hours spent in line at the gas station, etc., after Hurricane Isabel made landfall on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2003. Isabel originated off the west coast of Africa and took a northwestward path from the Bahamas into eastern North Carolina.

As Hurricane Joaquin approaches, many are questioning if this will have the same result as Isabel. Joaquin is a Category 4 hurricane at the moment, and is expected to turn toward the north today. The path is still in question at this time, though, making it difficult for a more definite prediction of the local impacts the region will receive.

According to the National Weather Service, many of the models of the projected track for Hurricane Joaquin are moving toward the east. If the hurricane follows that path, the area would have windy conditions and rain. Tidal flooding would be a problem because of the wind. If Joaquin moves closer to shore, then the region could experience conditions similar, possibly even worse, to the ones Hurricane Sandy brought in 2012. But, if the hurricane moves onshore, then it could experience lots of flooding, tidal flooding and damaging winds, closer to the ones this region experienced with Hurricane Isabel.

The fact that other weather systems have brought lots of rain to the area the past few days means that flooding could still become a problem, regardless of the track Joaquin takes. Also, the trees and ground are softer because of the amount of rain received lately, making it easier for branches and trees to fall and hit powerlines.

Before Joaquin can get here though, the area is expected to get four to six more inches of rain over the next few days.