Hurricane Joaquin Tracking Back Out To Sea

But dangerous flooding is still happening along the East Coast

Hurricane Joaquin and storm activity Oct. 2

Hurricane Joaquin and storm activity on Oct. 2

The latest satellite imagery of Hurricane Joaquin and associated tropical weather in the Atlantic was captured the morning of October 2, 2015, by the NASA network of three Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES).NASA GOES

For the past several days, people along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard have been nervously tracking the path of Hurricane Joaquin. But the latest data gathered by the network of sensors, satellites, and "Hurricane Hunter" planes and published online this morning by the U.S. National Hurricane Center indicate that the storm is likely to miss the populated coastal region by several hundred miles East, although it continues to batter the Bahamas.

Heavy rains and flooding are nonetheless still occurring and expected to continue for several days along the U.S. East Coast, namely in parts of Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

Two people have reportedly already been killed in the Carolinas due to flooding and falling trees, according to Weather.com.

Hurricane Joaquin track forecast morning of October 2, 2015

Hurricane Joaquin track forecast as of Friday, October 2 at 8 a.m. ET

The latest forecast model for Hurricane Joaquin shows the storm heading several hundred miles East of the populous East Coast, though heavy rains, high winds, and flooding are still likely in several major areas.National Hurricane Center/National Weather Service

Other updated models all point to the hurricane sweeping past the coast as it weakens over the weekend:

Earlier forecast models varied widely, but initially appeared to show the Category 4 (out of 5) storm heading from somewhere between Washington, D.C., and New York City.

And given the storm's then-growing strength and 130-mile-per-hour winds, government officials in the area were quick to begin preparations for Hurricane Joaquin's possible landfall, with the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Virginia preemptively declaring States of Emergency in their respective states.

The worst of the storm, however, is tracking to pass by the areas without making landfall, and the storm is likely to weaken in the coming days. As the National Hurricane Center notes in its latest update: "There is a high chance this system will develop into a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours." A tropical cyclone is less intense than a hurricane in terms of wind speeds, but is still dangerous for those out at sea and in its path.

Update: Friday, October 2, 1:13 p.m. EDT: A cargo ship with 33 people has gone missing in the storm near the Bahamas, reports Fox News, and the New York City government sent out the following weather advisory:

Notification issued 10/02/15 at 12:55 PM. New York City is forecast to experience intermittent wind gusts in excess of 40 MPH. During periods of high winds, residents should use caution when walking or driving high profile vehicles. Winds at these speeds can cause flying debris, turn unsecured objects into projectiles, and cause power outages. Individuals who have constructed a Succah for the holiday should take appropriate actions to secure the structure and roofing to prevent damage or injury from flying debris. To prepare, charge cell phone batteries, gather supplies, and turn refrigerators and freezers to a colder setting. Always stay clear of downed power lines. If you are affected by an outage, turn off all appliances and keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to prevent food spoilage. Do not use generators indoors. If you lose power and have a disability or access needs, or use Life Sustaining Equipment (LSE) and need immediate assistance, please dial 9-1-1. For the latest weather information visit www.weather.gov/nyc.

Update: Friday, October 2, 4:40 p.m. EDT: The cargo ship, the El Faro, had 28 Americans and 5 Poles among its crew, reports USA Today. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to search for it, but the search is proving difficult because the ship lost power and communications. At the time of last contact on Thursday, the ship reported losing propulsion and beginning to list and take on water, though the flooding is said to be contained, at least as of last communication.

Update: Monday, October 3, 12:15 p.m. EDT: The El Faro sank on Thursday at its last-known position near the Bahamas, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, USA Today reports. One body has already reportedly also been found, according to Reuters, but the U.S. Coast Guard says the search for survivors will continue.