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Tropical Storm Joaquin could become hurricane by Wednesday evening
By SP_COP on September 30, 2015 | From www.nola.com
Tropical Storm Joaquin could become hurricane by Wednesday evening Tropical Storm Joaquin, about 405 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas on Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 29), continues to gain strength and is expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Joaquin had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph at 4 p.m. and was heading west southwest at 5 mph, and that general motion is expected to continue for the next few days. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 90 miles from its center.

Forecasters urged interests in the Bahamas to monitor Joaquin's progress over the next few days, and watches or warnings may be issued for some of the islands by Tuesday evening.

The storm is expected to make a sharp turn north and a bit east, beginning Thursday afternoon, and take a path parallel to the East Coast. The forecast has it well east of the Outer Banks of North Carolina by 2 p.m. Sunday, when it's expected to have sustained winds of 85 mph, Category 1 strength.

"The cloud pattern of the storm has become better organized during the day, with the low level center now embedded inside the northern edge of the main area of deep convection," said Senior Hurricane Specialist Richard Pasch in a forecast message.

"Flight-level, dropsonde, and SFMR wind observations from an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft indicate that Joaquin has strengthened and the intensity is now estimated to be 55 kt," or 65 mph, Pasch said.

Dropsondes are tube-shaped instrument packages that are dropped from planes and measure temperature, air pressure and humidity as it drops to the ocean surface, transmitting the information to the plane and then to land where it is used by forecast computer models.

"SFMR" refers to stepped frequency microwave radiometer, an instrument on the plane that measures wind speed at the water or ground surface by tracking the movement of raindrops....
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