Matthew Moving Through Bahamas; Will Impact Florida Tomorrow Trough Friday

Position and intensity

As of the 8:00PM EDT intermediate advisory the center of category 3 Hurricane Matthew was located at 23.0 degrees north and 76.0 degrees west. Maximum sustained winds were 115 miles per-hour, the minimum central pressure was 962 millibars, and movement was to the northwest at 12 miles per-hour.

U.S. watches and warnings

  • A hurricane warnings is in effect from Golden Beach, FL to the Flagler and Volusia county line, including Lake Okeechobee.
  • A tropical storm warning is in effect from Chokoloskee, FL to Golden Beach, FL.
  • A hurricane watch is in effect from the Flagler and Volusia county line to the Savannah River in Georgia.
  • A tropical storm watch is in effect from Chokoloskee, FL to the Suwannee River in Florida.

Track forecast for Matthew through Saturday

A ridge of high pressure will continue to steer Matthew to the northwest, through the Bahamas, until Friday morning. After that time, the ridge of high pressure will retreat to the east, causing Matthew to turn to the north-northwest, and then to the north Friday afternoon.

By late Saturday Matthew should begin to move to the northeast, away from Florida.

At this time it looking increasingly likely that Matthew will “ride” up the East Coast of Florida Thursday through Friday, likely making landfall along Florida’s East Coast between West Palm Beach, Fl and Cape Canaveral, Fl on Friday.

Landfall is still not a sure thing though, and Matthew could remain just off-shore of Florida’s East Coast; but a landfall is looking more likely at this point.

NOTE: We also wanted to note that some of the model guidance has Matthew loop back towards Florida and the Bahamas early next week; but it’s too early to know if that will actually happen or not.

Intensity forecast for Matthew through Saturday

Matthew slightly weakened to a category 3 hurricane today. However, Matthew will rapidly re-intensify tonight and tomorrow, likely becoming a high-end category 4 hurricane once again. Matthew will likely maintain category 4 [if it re-attains category 4 status again as expected] status through Friday, before weakening to a category 2 Friday night or early Saturday.

Timing

Impacts from Matthew will begin early tomorrow, with tropical storm conditions beginning in the tropical storm warning area early tomorrow, spreading north through tomorrow and Friday. In addition, Tropical storm conditions, particularity tropical storm force wind gusts, will be possible in the tropical storm watch area throughout the day tomorrow.

Then, late tomorrow, hurricane conditions will begin in the hurricane warning area, and will spread north through Thursday night and Friday. In addition, hurricane conditions will be possible in the hurricane watch area late Friday through early Saturday, with tropical storm conditions possible as early as early Friday.

Impacts

Even if Matthew remains just off-shore and doesn’t make landfall, hurricane conditions and tropical storm conditions will impact the watch and warned zones.


mathew-forecast-wind-field-2
Forecast wind field for Matthew

Hurricane warning area: Sustained winds of 130mph with higher gusts, life threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall, and isolated tornadoes.

Hurricane watch area: Hurricane force winds, heavy rainfall, and isolated tornadoes.

Tropical storm warning area: Sustained winds of 40 – 60mph with higher gusts, storm surge, heavy rainfall, and isolated tornadoes.

Tropical storm watch area: Tropical storm force wind gusts, heavy rainfall, isolated tornadoes.


Preparedness

If you are in Florida, and are under a hurricane warning, you should be actively making preparations for Matthew; and if you aren’t you need to do so right away.

In addition, if you receive an evacuation order, you should follow the order and evacuate.

For information regarding evacuation orders, evacuation routes, and evacuation shelters you should consult your local authorities or go to floridadisaster.org.

We will have another full update out on Matthew tomorrow night, with brief updates on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day tomorrow.