Hurricane warnings are out for the Bahamas as Hurricane Joaquin approaches the islands and may then head for the U.S. mid-Atlantic.
As of late Wednesday, Joaquin was a Category 2 storm with top sustained winds of 165 kilometers per hour.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami predict the storm will pass over the Bahamas Thursday and Friday, when they say it could develop into a major hurricane.
Joaquin's track after the Bahamas is difficult to forecast. But at least one computer model has it going straight into the Chesapeake Bay of Virginia and Maryland Sunday and Monday as a Category 2 storm, which would be bad news for such major inland cities as Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Another track has it going out to sea, away from the coast.
Separately, a low-pressure system stalled over the eastern seaboard is forecast to drench coastal cites Thursday and Friday with several centimeters of rain.