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UPDATE: Tropical Storm Joaquin Strengthens in W. Atlantic

Joaquin forecast track (5pm 10/02/2015)
Posted at 4:41 PM, Sep 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-29 19:03:17-04

UPDATE (11 p.m.) -- The intensification phase continued for Tropical Storm Joaquin late Tuesday night, reaching highest winds of 70 mph, which is on the verge of hurricane strength.

MIDWAY, Fla. (WTXL) -- Tropical Storm Joaquin has churned the waters in the western Atlantic, poised to cause a nuisance to some of the islands in the Bahamas.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the storm was about 400 miles from the northwestern Bahamas.  Its peak winds had increased to 65 mph. 

Joaquin showed slow movement, to the west-southwest at 5 mph.

Steering winds are generally light, causing the tropical storm to drift westward in the near-term future.  Upper-level winds are also light enough to allow the storm to strengthen gradually through the next two days, enough to become a hurricane by Thursday morning.

By the end of the week, a cold front over the Southeastern U.S. will force Joaquin to move sharply to the north.  The front will act as a buffer for the Florida east coast and the Georgia shoreline, keeping Joaquin offshore.

Into early next week, great uncertainty exists in terms of its movement.  Locations from near Bermuda to the mid-Atlantic coast are in or near the cone of possible forecast movement for the storm.  It is forecast to maintain Category 1 hurricane strength.