Story highlights
Hurricane Joaquin is a powerful Category 3 storm, but could strengthen more, forecasters say
Its future path is unclear, but it could mean heavy rain for Mid-Atlantic states

Forgive the people along the East Coast if they’re having a bad case of Sandy deja vu when it comes to Hurricane Joaquin.

The powerful tropical system became a major hurricane overnight. And over the next day, the Category 3 storm will only get stronger.
The good news: If current projections hold, Joaquin won’t be another Sandy.
The not-so-good news: Hurricane projections are notoriously unpredictable.
No wonder folks are nervous.

Where it will make landfall
It was just three years ago this month that Superstorm Sandy slammed the northeastern United States, devastating parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Could it happen again? Well, yes, but Joaquin probably isn’t Sandy part 2.
But the current track of Joaquin puts it south of where Sandy made landfall, said CNN meteorologist Rachel Aissen.
The current tracking map shows Joaquin making landfall near Norfolk, Virginia, on Sunday night as a hurricane, then weakening and hitting Washington a day later as a tropical storm.
Still, it wouldn’t take much to push Joaquin into the Big Apple.
“If the track shifted east it would be similar to Sandy,” Aissen said. “It would only have to shift 40 to 50 miles.”

How bad it’s likely to be
Even if Joaquin makes its way to Sandy’s old stomping grounds, it’s just not going to pack the same punch.
When Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012, it had hurricane-force winds. Joaquin is projected to be a tropical storm should it get that far north.
The rain? Now that’s a different story.
Hurricane Joaquin is lifting storm stocks
No matter where Joaquin goes, the storm is expected to bring significant rainfall to the East Coast, where some states already were dealing with flood threats from separate systems this week.
“There is so much tropical moisture, we will get 10 inches of rainfall in the Mid-Atlantic (in the next seven days) — and that’s with a miss,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. “If we get a hit … that number may double.”
Large portions of the Eastern Seaboard from South Carolina to Maine were under flood watches and warnings.
Flooding made some streets impassable in Portland, Maine. Several cars were stalled on one street there after their drivers tried to drive through standing water, CNN affiliate WMTW …Read More