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Hurricane Matthew Continues to Rage Toward U.S. – Already Ravaging Bahamas

Hurricane Matthew continues to churn through the Northwest Bahamas with the eyewall passing by the northern tip of Andros Island. Around the core, wind gusts are approaching 200 mph. The storm is moving slightly faster, northwest at 14 mph. The next area to be affected will be the East Coast of Florida.

Mace Article Forecast Path

The upcoming several hours will be very important for residents from South Florida northward through the Space Coast. A small scale wobble of 10 to 20 miles will make a huge difference on the type of damage it may produce, and what area might see the worst of the storm. Small deviations in the track will make the difference from a major inconvenience to widespread devastation that will take months of recovery.

Mace Article Radar Image

Here are a few important characteristics to watch:

1–

Since last night, Matthew underwent rapid intensification. Pressures dropped more than 20 millibars in 12 hours, and sustained winds increased 35 mph to category 4 strength. In the last few hours, there has been little change in pressure, so it is unlikely for the wind to increase much further in the short-term. Over the next 12 hours, it is possible that an eyewall replacement cycle may occur which is common in major hurricanes. This is when the core contracts around the eye and the outer rainbands strengthen, creating a new eyewall. At this time, the hurricane loses some intensity as energy is transferred to the newly forming core, reducing peak winds. If this happens closer to the coast, it may help to reduce wind damage slightly. If it occurs further offshore, some intensification is possible as it approaches the coast.

2–

As the eyewall replacement cycle occurs, the storm center may wobble 10-20 miles. This will obviously affect the position of the storm and what areas could see the worst of the storm. The highest winds are typically found on the northern and eastern sides of the eye. If Matthew wobbles slightly east, the heaviest wind may stay offshore. A shift west may slam the worst wind right into the coast. This would also affect the height and locations of storm surge and water levels.

3 –

As Matthew moves forward, it may “step” north for 10-20 miles, and then move west for a stretch. This can happen instead of the storm moving in a straight line. These minor changes also heavily impact which communities see the worst of Matthew.

Unfortunately, these small scale factors are nearly impossible to forecast and are usually only seen on radar and satellite as they occur. This is why if you are living anywhere along the East Coast of Florida, you should have already implemented your hurricane preparations and safety plan. Listen to your local authorities for evacuations.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

Stay tuned to WeatherNation for the very latest on Hurricane Matthew.

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