The Hurricane Joaquin threat intesified on Thursday as it was upgraded to a category 4 storm and labeled "extremely dangerous," the AP reported.
The National Hurricane Center said that it is expected to gain strength after moving past the Bahamas in next 24 hours, according to the AP. It currently has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.
Meanwhile, New Yorkers were preparing for Joaquin, which could hit the region with drenching rains, strong winds and possible flooding, according to a New York Post report on the Category 3 storm, which added that despite the storm’s uncertain path, some forecasters were sounding the alarm.
“I hate to compare anything to Sandy, but the setup isn’t all that different. I know a lot of things can get overhyped, but this, I actually think, may be underhyped,” Rob Reale, a meteorologist at New Jersey’s WeatherWorks, was quoted in the Post article.
Some meteorologists, though, are taking a calmer approach, according to the Post.
“I think the uncertainty with this is a little bit greater than you might normally expect from a tropical system like this,” John Feerick, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather, told The Post. “There are so many things in play,” he said, referring to other weather systems currently in the area that could affect Joaquin’s path.
Christina Speciale, another WeatherWorks meteorologist, told The Post that the latest models had Joaquin striking well south of New York.
“Right now, we’re expecting landfall along the North Carolina and Virginia coastline, and the models are growing in confidence,” she said in the report.
Gov. Cuomo urged residents to begin preparing for Joaquin, and on Thursday activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Albany to "monitor severe weather that is anticipated to impact southern parts of New York State beginning today and potentially lasting through this weekend."
“As Hurricane Joaquin makes its way up the East Coast, New York is in a much better position today than we have ever been before - but when it comes to Mother Nature, you can never be too prepared," Cuomo said in a statement. “That is why we are activating the State’s Emergency Operations Center and positioning critical resources across the state as we learn more about this developing storm. I urge New Yorkers to exercise caution and stay informed in the coming days.”