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Upgraded to hurricane, Joaquin heads to Bahamas

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Tropical Storm Joaquin has grown to hurricane strength, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.

Hurricane Joaquin packed 80-mph winds as of Wednesday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. The center issued a hurricane warning for the central Bahama Islands including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador. In addition, a hurricane watch is in effect for the northwestern Bahamas.

The center said that Joaquin is moving southwest around 6 mph, with a general motion toward the west-southwest or southwest expected to continue through Wednesday night.

“A turn toward the west and a decrease in forward speed are forecast on Thursday,” said the center in an advisory issued Wednesday morning. “On the forecast track, the center of Joaquin is expected to move near or over portions of the central Bahamas” Wednesday night and Thursday.