(Reuters) -- Slow-moving Hurricane Joaquin pounded the Bahamas for a second day with powerful winds and waves on Friday, but, much to the relief of radio stations, it was not expected to be a major threat to the U.S. East Coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
"A strong majority of forecast models is now in agreement on a track farther away from the United States East Coast," the NHC said.
Despite the more favorable outlook, the NHC said Joaquin could still cause flooding from South Carolina to New England.
The Miami-based NHC said the hurricane, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm on a scale of 1 to 5, was poised to make a sharp northerly turn on Friday.
The third hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season, Joaquin was about 20 miles (32 km) east of Long Island, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (210 kph), the NHC said.
The governors of New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland all declared states of emergency and announced various measures, including the mobilization of National Guard troops, in preparation for the storm.
"I cannot stress enough that we are talking about the real possibility of deadly flooding in many areas around our state,” North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory told a news conference on Thursday.