Hurricane Joaquin Veers Away from Coast; Flooding Still Likely

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

The projected path of Hurricane Joaquin has shifted into the Atlantic Ocean. (Courtesy National Weather Service)
The projected path of Hurricane Joaquin has shifted into the Atlantic Ocean. (Courtesy National Weather Service)

The Historic Triangle can breathe a collective sigh of relief as Hurricane Joaquin appears to be headed away from the East Coast and out to sea.

The National Weather Service updated its forecast Thursday night to reflect a significant shift in the storm’s trajectory. The outlook Friday morning continued to strengthen that prediction.

“The forecast models continue to indicate a track for Hurricane Joaquin offshore of the U.S. East Coast from the Carolinas to the mid-Atlantic, and the threat of direct impacts from Joaquin in those areas is decreasing,” the National Weather Service reported via their website.

Joaquin would have been the first hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Arthur touched down on the Outer Banks in July 2014.

Despite the sunnier outlook in regard to Joaquin, state and local authorities are still deeply concerned about the possibility of severe flooding due to the unrelated storm front currently battering the area.

Even before indirect effects of Joaquin’s passing are felt on Sunday and into Monday, the Historic Triangle is predicted to experience up to 10 inches of rainfall.

The City of Williamsburg and James City County have both declared a state of emergency, following suit with Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s statewide state of emergency declaration Wednesday.

The City of Williamsburg also announced Waller Mill Park would be closed Saturday and Sunday.

York County continues to monitor the situation closely and has opened two public parking lots, the Kiln Creek Park lot and the McReynolds Sports Complex lot, for residents to park their vehicles in at their own risk.

Many area businesses and organizations are adjusting their weekend events in anticipation of the weather. Busch Gardens announced it would close at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon, and the park’s social media accounts advise that more decisions about the remainder of the weekend are forthcoming.

Additionally, many area athletic events have been canceled or postponed due to the weather. Williamsburg-James City County Schools and York County School Division outdoor sports for Friday were affected, as were Virginia Legacy Soccer games scheduled through the weekend.

The 46th annual An Occasion for the Arts has been canceled for the second time in the event’s history, but those who are able to make the trip to downtown Williamsburg can still enjoy the Williamsburg Book Festival in Bruton Parish Church’s Lewis Hall next to the College of William & Mary’s bookstore on Duke of Gloucester.

Residents are advised not to drive through flooded roads, and avoid travel in the area if possible. They should also be aware the rain-saturated ground makes trees more likely to fall, resulting in possible road blocks or power outages.

In addition to checking WYDaily for the latest weather updates, residents can also tune into 92.3 The Tide for up-to-the-minute coverage of any road, business and school closures that may occur, as well as other important information as the two storm systems continue to impact the Greater Williamsburg area.