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Get Ready: Hurricane Joaquin and Major Flooding on the Way To East Coast

Hurricane Sandy destructionMeteorologists on the East Coast are preparing for a major weather event as Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin buffets the Caribbean. So far, the hurricane’s path is unpredictable, but it’s been tracked with winds of 130 miles per hour.

This week, a massive storm system has been brewing over the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. A strengthening jet stream and low pressure system combined to dump more than a foot of rainfall on South Carolina, while surrounding states in the Southeast saw considerable precipitation as well. Forecasters said they expect the weekend to be wet and worse.

“We could be staring down an event that will shatter many all-time rainfall records, bringing with it the potential for a significant flooding event over a wide stretch of real estate,” said writer and meteorologist Dennis Mersereau.

Unfortunately, this is a completely separate storm system from Hurricane Joaquin. That means a weekend of record rain and flash floods could be immediately followed by a Category 4 hurricane, and the entire East Coast is on alert. Americans in the region are advised to get ready. For homeowners, experts warn that 95% of roof leaks occur at the flashing, especially where there are bends, punctures, or loose sealant around chimneys, vents, and exhaust pipes.

“We don’t know for sure where the hurricane is going to go,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said. “But we have no ground, at all, for complacency.”

Governor Wolf, like many Americans, is remembering the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which flooded parts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. At least 223 people lost their lives because of that storm.

A lack of preparation, among both state governments and civilians, made the effects of Sandy worse. Because the storm was initially billed as a tropical storm, many people failed to take the proper precautions before it made landfall. So even though meteorologists don’t know where, or if, Hurricane Joaquin will make landfall, virtually every state east of the Mississippi is preparing for the worst.

“One way or the other, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and on up will get between five and 10 inches of rain — even without a direct landfall,” said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. “If we get a landfall, we get 15 inches of rain and winds of 80 mph. But without even a direct landfall, there will be significant flooding through the Carolinas, through Virginia, and all the way up the East Coast.”