Hurricane Joaquin batters Bahamas, upgrades to category 4

Hurricane Joaquin has upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane after it bore down Thursday on the lightly populated islands of the central and eastern Bahamas.

Some minor flooding and storm surge were reported, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or significant damage as the storm reached the island chain, said Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency.

Islands such as San Salvador, Cat Island and Rum Cay were expected to experience the most significant effects before the storm begins an expected shift toward the north, forecasters said.

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