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Hurricane Joaquin, 'extremely dangerous,' says National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Joaquin is now described by the National Hurricane Center in the U.S. as "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane, moving slowly northeastward as it batters central Bahamas.

The latest Canadian Hurricane Centre track map shows Joaquin maintaining hurricane status as it moves north into next week, and then weakening to become a tropical storm with winds of about 100 km/h as it approaches the waters around Newfoundland on Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center says a faster northward motion for Joaquin is expected to begin later today, followed by a turn toward the northeast and an increase in forward speed tonight and Saturday.

On the forecast track, the National Hurricane Center says the core of the strongest winds of Joaquin will continue moving over portions of the central and northwestern Bahamas today. Joaquin will begin to move away from the Bahamas tonight and Saturday.

The U.S. East coast is bracing for its effects.

Maximum sustained winds are currently near 215 km/h, with higher gusts. Some fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next 24 hours. Slow weakening is expected to begin on Saturday.

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