As recently as last night forecasters were calling for Joaquin to stay out at sea. That seems to have changed, quickly.
"Hurricane warnings have been expanded to include more of the Bahamas as Hurricane Joaquin churns toward the nation of islands east of Florida. Despite considerable uncertainty, the odds of a landfall on the U.S. East Coast appear to be increasing, and the official forecast track suggests that Joaquin could become the first landfalling hurricane on the U.S. mainland in 15 months.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft measured sufficiently strong flight-level winds and low surface pressure to prompt the National Hurricane Center to upgrade Joaquin Wednesday morning. The Hurricane Hunters found a 55-mile-wide eye, but it was open on its north side – meaning that robust thunderstorms had not fully encircled the Joaquin's center of circulation."