Hurricane Joaquin remains a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, but maximum sustained winds have strengthened to 125 miles per hour from 120 miles per hour earlier Thursday, the National Hurricane Center reported. The storm is already creating hurricane conditions in parts of the central and southeastern Bahamas, and is expected to hit the northwestern part of the islands by Friday, the NHC said in its latest advisory. After that, the storm's path is unpredictable, although it is expected to affect parts of the southeastern coast of the United States later today. "Regardless of Joaquin's track, a prolonged period of elevated water levels and large waves will affect the mid-Atlantic region, causing significant beach and dune erosion with moderate coastal flooding likely," said the advisory. Other forecasters said Joaquin could still make landfall further north on the U.S. East Coast, and will certainly bring plenty of rainfall over the weekend. "The East Coast will see significant impacts from the larger scale weather pattern taking shape," said Weather.com.
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