[Tuesday Evening] Matthew Moving Over Cuba – Hurricane Warnings for All of the Bahamas and Watches for Florida
Hurricane Matthew is currently moving over eastern Cuba, after passing over western Haiti early this morning. As expected, the mountainous terrain has disrupted Matthew’s core, and some weakening has occurred. However, Matthew remains a powerful Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph as of the 11 pm NHC advisory on Tuesday.
Matthew will move into the southern Bahamas on Wednesday and into the northwestern Bahamas on Thursday. Hurricane warnings are in effect for the entire Bahamas. Matthew will likely need time to recover from its passage over Cuba, and may be in a weakened state for about 24 hours after emerging from the high terrain. However, it will remain a very dangerous storm for the Bahamas, where storm surge and prolonged periods of hurricane force winds near the core are possible. Given the low shear and high SST environment that Matthew will be tracking through, it is possible that some strengthening will occur in the northwest Bahamas. For now, the NHC expects Matthew to roughly maintain its current intensity through the Bahamas.
By late Thursday and Friday Matthew is expected to approach the east coast of Florida. It is difficult to know whether landfall will actually occur at this time. The exact track could greatly change the impacts for specific towns along the coastline. Regardless, Matthew is expected to be in proximity to Florida, and significant impacts are now likely for portions of the state, and a hurricane warning is in effect from north of Golden Beach to Sebastian Inlet, Florida.
Matthew is expected to move northward near the east coast of Florida during Friday and then the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday while weakening some. It is still too soon to say how close Matthew may get to Georgia and the Carolinas, or any other points northward from there along the east coast. Recent trends suggest that a trough expected to turn Matthew northeastward will not dig as deeply during the weekend, and may result in Matthew turning more sharply eastward during that time. This could carry Matthew on a trajectory away from the eastern seaboard, but it’s too early to say how Matthew may impact the eastern seaboard north of Georgia.
This remains a difficult forecast due to Matthew’s track expected to lie close to the southeast U.S. coastline. Impacts expected for your specific local area may change over the next few days. Stay informed via the National Hurricane Center, your local NWS forecast office, and local emergency management officials.
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