Joaquin becomes 'dangerous Category 4 hurricane'

Posted at 11:00 PM, Oct 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-01 23:00:13-04

Forecasters say Hurricane Joaquin has strengthened to "an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane."

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Thursday afternoon that additional strengthening is expected over the next 24 hours, as the storm moves past the Bahamas, bringing winds, heavy rain, dangerous surf and significant storm surge.

Protect yourself from dangerous weather 24/7, download ABC2's STORM SHIELD APP! -  iOS | Android

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and is moving southwest at 6 mph. It is about 70 miles south-southeast of San Salvador, Bahamas.

A hurricane watch is in effect for much of the Bahamas and other nearby islands. Forecasters say the center of Joaquin should move over or near portions of the central Bahamas Thursday afternoon and night

Forecast maps show the storm passing the Bahamas and then making its way toward the U.S. over the next couple of days.