WASHINGTON -- The FOX 5 Weather Team says Hurricane Joaquin has strengthened into a Category 4 storm, which the National Hurricane Center says is "extremely dangerous."
The National Hurricane Center's latest models are showing that the storm is moving farther to the east, which would be a better scenario for the Mid-Atlantic, and would no longer make it an immediate threat to our area.
-- Category 4 storm, maximum winds of 130 mph
-- Storm battering the Bahamas, moving northwest at 3 mph
-- Latest forecast models show Joaquin tracking well east, out to sea
-- If track continues, no landfall for Joaquin and the D.C. area may only see fringe effects
No matter what Joaquin does, we will be getting rain Friday and it could last into Saturday morning. Amounts: 1 to 3 inches widespread and 3 to 5 inches locally.
A Flash Flood Watch is in effect from 8 a.m. Friday until Saturday evening for the District of Columbia and portions of Maryland and Virginia.
In addition to the precipitation, cool temperatures are expected to continue and strong northeast wind gusts could be as high as 25 to 35 miles per hour.
Get the latest FOX 5 forecast by clicking here and follow the FOX 5 Weather Team on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
THE LATEST: JOAQUIN INUNDATES BAHAMASELEUTHERA, Bahamas (AP) -- Hurricane Joaquin ripped off roofs, uprooted trees and unleashed heavy flooding as the Category 4 storm dumped torrential rains across the eastern and central Bahamas on Friday. Forecasters shifted its likely path farther away from the U.S. East Coast.
Some people remained trapped in flooded homes, but no fatalities or injuries have been reported so far, according to Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency. He told reporters that officials lost communication with a couple of islands overnight and said power was knocked out in some areas.
Officials asked Bahamians to stay on alert as the slow-moving storm roared through the island chain, where schools, businesses and government offices were closed.
Streets were largely deserted as people remained hunkered down on the island of Eleuthera, which was bracing for heavy winds later Friday.
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