Strengthened Hurricane Joaquin closes in on Central Bahamas

MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Joaquin had got power as it bore down on the central-Bahamas early Thursday, and interpreters had said it was probably to grow into the major hurricane while following a pathway that would close to the U.S. East Coast by the weekend.

Little harm was stated by Bahamas officials late Wednesday, and Islanders hurried to get ready for storm surges and serious rain from the approaching Joaquin. The system said the center was probably to pass near or over several islands during the night and Thursday.

Joaquin was a Category 3 storm with utmost sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph) and hurricane power winds extending 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the eye early Thursday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said. As of 5 a.m. EDT, the center of the storm was about 20 miles (35 kilometers) north of Samana Cays, Bahamas, and moving west-southwest at five mph (7 kph).

“It’s going to be a scary storm,” said 42-year-old construction worker Jason Petty as he pointed at towering clouds gathering in the distance as the sun went down in Eleuthera. “It looks beautiful now, but later on, it’s going to be terrible, just terrible.”

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