Your weather when it really mattersTM

Country

Please choose your default site

Americas

Asia

Europe

News
Matthew, the first major hurricane that could hit the United States head on in more than a decade, also triggered mass evacuations along the coast from Florida through Georgia and into South Carolina and North Carolina.
HURRICANE MATTHEW U.S. IMPACT

Hurricane Matthew intensifies, aiming direct hit to Florida


Michael Carter
Meteorologist

Thursday, October 6, 2016, 10:16 -

Editor's Note: This article was published before U.S. landfall. For latest information on Hurricane Matthew as it tracks up the East Coast, see our latest article, here.

Hurricane Matthew is taking aim at Florida tonight, after leaving a swath of devastation across the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

Currently a Category 4 storm, Matthew is on track what is likely to be an unprecedented and destructive encounter with the southeast coast of the United States beginning late Thursday.

"If a direct landfall occurs, this will be unlike any hurricane in the modern era," the National Weather Service's Jacksonville office noted in a forecast discussion. As of Thursday night roughly 20,000 were without power through parts of Florida, and the storm's death toll climbed to almost 300, the New York Times reports.


HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: Five important tips to help keep you safe


Hurricane Warnings are currently posted for much of Florida’s east coast, including all of Georgia’s and much of South Carolina’s shoreline. Hurricane conditions are expected to reach parts of Florida by Thursday evening, spreading northward through the day on Friday. Georgia and South Carolina may begin to see hurricane conditions by late Friday night. Tropical storm conditions are expected well in advance of Matthew’s arrival.

Matthew continues to look impressive in satellite imagery Thursday, with a distinct eye visible in the infrared channel, embedded in very cold cloud tops indicative of strong convection.

The storm’s eyewall is currently visible on Miami radar, and its double-ring structure indicates that a replacement cycle may be about to occur. If so, some fluctuations in intensity could occur, but the forecast remains for Matthew to impact Florida’s coast as a Category 4 storm.

Watch below: Hurricane Matthew's Track

Matthew’s expected track nearly parallel to the coast adds a significant layer of complication to the forecast.

A small deviation to the left at any point would bring the core of this major hurricane onshore, while a small shift to the right would allow the storm to skirt the coastline without ever making direct contact. With such a small margin for error, the exact impacts of Matthew for any given location along the coast remains uncertain.


SAFETY: Six important flood safety tips


Watch below: Cumulative rainfall forecast

Regardless of the exact path it takes, Matthew is set to be a devastating and memorable storm.

A hurricane of this intensity has never tracked across Florida’s Space Coast since records began in 1851. That will change this week, as Matthew becomes the first Category 4 storm ever to impact this stretch of the coastline.


STORM TOOL KIT: Be prepared for severe weather with The Weather Network's online essentials: ALERTS | LIVE RADAR | UPLOAD PHOTOS/VIDEOS | LATEST NEWS | FOLLOW ON TWITTER | HIGHWAY FORECAST | AIRPORT FORECAST




It is important to note that Hurricane Matthew is a large system, and significant impacts will occur well away from the storm’s track. Hurricane force winds currently extend 60 miles from the eye, and heavy rains extend much further. Parts of the Florida coastline are expected to see up to 12 inches of rain as the storm rakes along the coast.

Hurricane Matthew is expected to maintain sustained wind speeds approaching 140 mph as in nears the Florida coast, with gusts possible upwards of 165 mph. Winds greater than tropical storm force are expected well inland. And as the National Hurricane Center notes, winds increase rapidly in elevation in a tropical cyclone.

Residents in high-rise buildings should be aware that the winds at the top of a 30-story building will be, on average, about one Saffir-Simpson category higher than the winds near the surface.

Storm surge and large waves will also produce major impacts along the coastline, with some areas expected to see water levels 7 to 11 feet above normal. This surge, coupled with heavy rains, could lead to extensive, life-threatening flooding of river basins and low lying areas well inland.

National Update: Hurricane Matthew bears down on Florida, Southeast coast. Watch below.

Some uncertainty still exists with the long term track for Matthew, but coastal residents as far north as North Carolina should be actively preparing for the hurricane, which is expected to maintain sustained wind speeds near 100 mph through Saturday afternoon. Matthew is expected to eventually re-curve out to sea, but the exact timing of this turn will determine precisely how far north the storm’s impacts spread.

It is likely that Matthew will weaken offshore early next week, as it stalls off the southeast coast for several days.

State of Emergency in Southeast U.S.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday said the U.S. government has teams and supplies positioned to respond to Hurricane Matthew as the storm barrels toward Florida and other southeastern states, Reuters reported. He called Hurricane Matthew a "serious storm" and urges the public to comply with evacuation orders.

The governors in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia have all declared states of emergencies.

“I have declared a state of emergency in every Florida county due to the severity and magnitude of Hurricane Matthew,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a tweet at around 4:00 p.m. EDT. on Monday.

In South Carolina, about a quarter of a million residents were expected to evacuate from coastal areas. 

"If you do not leave, you are putting a National Guardsmen's or a law enforcement officer's life on the line," Governor Nikki Haley said.


STORM TOOL KIT: Be prepared for severe weather with The Weather Network's online essentials: ALERTS | LIVE RADAR | UPLOAD PHOTOS/VIDEOS | LATEST NEWS | FOLLOW ON TWITTER | HIGHWAY FORECAST | AIRPORT FORECAST


North Carolina took a similar approach.

“While we do not yet know how Hurricane Matthew will impact North Carolina, we do know that we can expect some form of impacts on our state,” said Governor McCrory. “Already, we’ve seen substantial flooding in eastern and central parts of the state from recent rain events, and many areas are already saturated. We are taking this storm seriously, and I encourage residents and visitors do the same.” 

Governor McCrory declared a State of Emergency for 66 counties to facilitate the movement of any resources that may be needed to respond to the storm. It also waives truck weight, size and hours of service restrictions so that farmers can quickly harvest their crops before the storm hits.

Residents are urged to check back regularly as we continue to monitor this system. For latest visuals of Matthew's impact, see below.


Additional Sources: governor.nc.gov | http://www.flgov.com/ | Climate Prediction Center | NHC

Weather Network Digital Reporter Dalia Ibrahim contributed to this article.

Haiti: Corpse in street, no aid; anger grows after hurricane
Hurricane Matthew batters Florida as it chugs up the coast
Fall Forecast: Next two months of weather & winter preview
Default saved
Close

Search Location

Close

Sign In

Please sign in to use this feature.