Hurricane Joaquin's rapid increase in intensity overnight, from a category 1 hurricane to a category 3 suggests that its cloud tops are driving into much colder air at the extreme edge of the stratosphere. The fact that this is happening even though the storm has a land mass under it means that it could continue to increase in intensity. However, this will not be certain for another 24 hours. If it either stays over the Bahamas and continues to increase in intensity while stationary, or increases when it moves over open water, it has the potential to become an extremely dangerous storm. There is no known way to predict whether or not this will happen, but like Katrina and Sandy, if it does happen, the change will unfold over a period of six to ten hours.
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