Maximum sustained winds reached 135 kph and extended 55 kilometers from the center of the storm over the Atlantic Ocean yesterday, according to the US National Hurricane Center in Miami, which predicted Joaquin would develop into a major hurricane in the coming days.
    
Authorities in the Bahamas prepared for a brush with the storm, with the center expected to pass near several eastern islands. Forecasters were still gathering data to determine how it would affect the US.
    
"We've got Air Force reconnaissance planes continuously giving us data from inside the hurricane this morning, and we're going to be throwing a lot more aircraft resources at this problem over the next few days because it still is not certain whether or not Joaquin will directly impact the US East Coast or stay out to sea," said Rick Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center.
    
The center of the storm was expected to be closest to land in the Bahamas about 2 pm (local time) today, passing east of San Salvador, Greene said.

 

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