A hurricane hunter aircraft flying through Joaquin early Wednesday morning found Category 1-force winds of nearly 80 MPH, making the storm an official hurricane. This is now the third hurricane of the Atlantic season.
The storm will likely remain a hurricane as it dances around the Bahamas through the rest of the week. By the weekend, the storm will move north. That's where the questions mount. Right now, it seems increasingly likely that the center of the storm will move towards the East Coast. It will be propelled in that direction by high pressure parked offshore, and a dip in the jet stream over the eastern seaboard.
While the highest likelihood of direct impacts stretches from the Carolinas to the Tri-State area, New England still needs to pay attention. That's because even a situation that features direct impacts for the Mid-Atlantic would result in forecast impacts here. Moisture (showers and downpours) from the storm, regardless of its final track, will travel up towards us along a stalled front. It's actually the same front that is bringing us the heavy rain on Wednesday. With that in mind we have to keep those scattered showers and downpours in the forecast right into early next week.
The National Weather Service is sending up numerous extra weather balloons along the East Coast this week to better sample the atmosphere, and better predict where the storm will track. Naturally we will provide forecast updates as necessary.