Matthew Forms, Caribbean at Risk
Tropical Storm Matthew formed near the Lesser Antilles of the eastern Caribbean on Wednesday morning, gaining strength through the day as it slowly moved off to the west.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday night that maximum sustained winds with the storm were at 65 miles-per-hour (MPH), putting it reasonably close to the minimum threshold for a hurricane, which are maximum sustained winds of 74 MPH or greater.
An 89 MPH wind gust (different from a prolonged sustained wind) was reported on the island of Martinique on Wednesday as Matthew passed by. Barbados saw about two inches of rain and lashing winds on Wednesday, as did St. Lucia, Dominica and Guadeloupe, among other islands of the Lesser Antilles.
But the bigger threat may lie away from the Lesser Antilles, as Matthew is expected to continue gaining strength into the end of the week. Winds are expected to increase to hurricane force by Thursday or Friday as it moves off to the west, slowing down as it does so.
A turn to the north late this weekend is being strongly hinted at by several computer models, although the expected interaction of an area of low pressure from the north is complicating the forecast and specifically when, or if, that turn may occur. Several solutions – from a strong storm in Central America to one off the East Coast of the U.S. next week – are still very much in play.
All interests from Jamaica to Cuba, the island of Hispaniola, Central America and the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts should be closely monitoring the progress of this system.
Stay with WeatherNation as Matthew’s track and possible intensity remains highly uncertain.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi