Hurricane Joaquin taking eastward track into open waters of the Atlantic

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THE BAHAMAS – Joaquin the Hurricane may turn into a deadly storm before he’s finished.

The Coast Guard is trying to find the El Faro, a US-flagged vessel out of Jacksonville, Florida  that was supposed to be in Puerto Rico by now with 33 crew members aboard, 28 of them American. Its last message came Thursday from off the Bahamas, and it wasn’t good.

“The concern was they became disabled right in the vicinity of the eye of Joaquin," said Capt. Mark Fedor of the US Coast Guard. "So they were in a very dangerous situation. They were disabled. We knew they were listing.”

The search for the ship comes as Joaquin turns north over the open waters of the Atlantic, and that’s good news for Florida and a whole lot of folks up and down the east coast.

But it doesn’t help the people of the Bahamas.

Joaquin more or less parked his bad Cat 4 self over the islands so he could dump up to 20 inches of rain and cause a lot of wind damage to anything that wasn’t nailed down.

From there, Joaquin will continue his northeasterly journey.

Crews on Long Island in New York are getting ready for the heavy rains by digging up mounds of sand to build dunes they hope will keep the storm surge out of the city.

In South Carolina, officials are watching the hurricane’s track while residents are preparing for the storm.

"Food, milk, water, bread, ice, just the essentials that can help you sustain comfortably as you can be for a couple-day period if necessary,” said Skip Holbroo, Columbia, SC, police chief.

Tourists on North Carolina’s Ocracoke Island got the heave-ho from county officials who issued a mandatory evacuation order.

The 900 permanent residents get to stay, though, but they’re told to keep their eyes on the storm just in case Joaquin sets his eye on them.