(NEW YORK) — A looming hurricane may be headed right toward the U.S. East Coast as it continues to strengthen.
Hurricane Joaquin has been upgraded to a Category 3 storm, sustaining winds of 120 mph, according to the latest reports from the National Hurricane Center.
Where Is It Headed Next?
As of Thursday morning, the hurricane was making its way toward the Bahamas and, after reaching those islands, it is slated to head north on Friday morning, putting much of the East Coast in its possible path.
The time that the hurricane spends in the Bahamas will only serve to strengthen it further, as the warm waters in the area could enable the storm to pick up steam and potentially jump to a Category 4 storm, which is qualified as any storm with winds higher than 130 mph.
Will It Hit The East Coast?
While the potential impact on the Bahamas is clear, with weather experts predicting huge waves of up to 30 feet and a storm surge that could go up to 8 feet, the fate of the U.S. East Coast is less certain.
At this point the path of the storm shows a slight move to the east, further out to sea than possible paths reported overnight and Wednesday. That means there is still a chance it will pass to the East Coast of the United States.
What Is Being Done to Prepare?
Precautions are underway, nevertheless, with governors in many coastal states warning residents to be ready for wet storms, power outages and road closures.
States like New Jersey and New York that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 are particularly wary.
Where Is the Storm Right Now?
ABC News will be running a live radar tracker throughout the day, seen below:
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