(NEW YORK) — Hurricane Joaquin is strengthening as it approaches the Bahamas, with an eye on the United States East Coast.
The storm was upgraded to Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Early Thursday morning, the storm was located about 80 miles east-southeast of San Salvador, Bahamas, moving southwest at six mph.
Hurricane warnings have been posted for the central and northwestern Bahamas, and a hurricane watch was issued for Bimini and Andros Island.
The central and southeastern Bahamas are expected to see a storm surge raising water levels by as much as five to eight feet above normal tide levels, according to NWS.
Some areas could receive up to 20 inches of rain due to Joaquin.
It is still too early to determine the exact impact that Joaquin may or may not have on the United States, but regardless of the final track that Joaquin takes – a surge of tropical moisture is expected to drench the East Coast, bringing several more inches of rain to an already soaked region.
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