Hurricane Matthew was slamming Cuba with winds of 140 mph. (Credit: NOAA)
11 PM UPDATE: Hurricane watches from Golden Beach to Sebastian Inlet on Florida’s East Coast were changed to hurricane warnings, and the hurricane watch for Lake Okeechobee was changed to a warning. Tropical storm watches for the Upper Keys were changed to warnings. The hurricane watch area was extended north to the Flagler/ Volusia county line.
In the NHC’s 11 p.m. advisory, Senior Hurricane Specialist said: “When a hurricane is forecast to take a track roughly parallel to a coastline, as Matthew is forecast to do from Florida through South Carolina, it becomes very difficult to estimate impacts this
far in advance.
“For example, only a small deviation of the track to the left of the NHC forecast could bring the core of a major hurricane onshore, while a small deviation to the right could keep all of the hurricane-force winds offshore. It will likely take another day or so for the potential impacts of Matthew in the United States to clarify.”
LATE MONDAY UPDATE: Hurricane watches were extended by the National Hurricane Center south from Deerfield Beach to Golden Beach in northeastern Miami-Dade County. And they were extended west to Lake Okeechobee.
The center of Matthew made landfall near Juaco, Cuba, and was moving north near 9 mph. A turn toward the north-northwest was expected on Wednesday, followed by a northwest turn Wednesday night, according to the NHC. It was expected to approach the Northwestern Bahamas Wednesday night.
The NHC said at 8 p.m. EDT: “Some fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next couple of days, but Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through at least Thursday night.”
The late Monday run of the GFS had Matthew as a 992-mb storm just west of Grand Bahama Island, considerably weaker than the storm that has been ravaging Haiti and Cuba. The late run of the NAVGEM (U.S. Navy) has Matthew hitting south of Miami, though, as a much stronger storm and scooting across the state to Tampa.
And the GFDL shows it coming into Palm Beach County on a more westward track early Friday morning as a powerful 935-mb hurricane.
UPDATE: A hurricane watch was issued by the National Hurricane Center for Florida’s East Coast from Deerfield Beach in Broward County north to the Volusia/Brevard county line. A tropical storm watch was posted from the Seven Mile Bridge in the Keys northward to Deerfield Beach, and for Lake Okeechobee.
Hurricane conditions are possible in Florida by late Thursday, NHC forecasters said, with tropical storm conditions possible early Thursday.
ALSO: Tropical Storm Nicole formed at 11 a.m. in the Central Atlantic with 50 mph winds. It was forecast to move northwest and then meander as a tropical depression over the weekend.
ORIGINAL POST: Look for tropical storm warnings and/ or hurricane watches for parts of Florida’s East Coast today, the National Hurricane Center said.
Tropical storm wind probabilities, from roughly Palm Beach County north to Daytona Beach, are up to 70 percent. Hurricane wind chances — 74 mph sustained winds or stronger — edged up to 20 percent.
Matthew made landfall in western Haiti at 7 a.m. with winds of 145 mph, moving slightly east of due north. But a turn toward the north-northwest and then northwest was forecast, which should bring the hurricane near Florida’s coast on Thursday.
The GFS brings Matthew to the western tip of Grand Bahama Island around midnight on Friday morning, with a pressure of 989 mb — just slightly higher than Monday’s GFS forecast. That’s actually slightly higher than Hurricane Hermine was, at 984 mb, when it approached the Florida panhandle on Sept. 1 as an 80-mph Category 1 hurricane.
However, the official National Hurricane Center forecast is for Matthew to be a 120-125mph major hurricane when it reaches the latitude of South Florida.
The ECMWF (European) has it in exactly the same position off the western tip of Grand Bahama late Thursday night, but as a more powerful 955 mb hurricane. in 2006, Hurricane Gordon was a 955 mb hurricane with winds of 120 mph.
Those are the two major forecast models upon which forecasters rely.
However, the Canadian (CMC) is in agreement with that Thursday night positioning with a central pressure of 983 mb.
The Navy model (NAVGEM) brings it right into Palm Beach County early Friday morning as a 977-mb hurricane, and then has it sweeping up the peninsula toward Tampa later in the day without losing much punch.
The HWRF — also a very respected NOAA product — keeps Matthew on the east side of Grand Bahama and calls for landfall late Friday in South Carolina as a 935-mb hurricane. That was the pressure of Hurricane Katrina as it closed in on the northern Gulf Coast in 2005.
The GFDL threads the needle between the western tip of Grand Bahama and the Palm Beach coast very early Friday morning as a 916-mb powerhouse. That was the pressure of Hurricane Opal in 1995 in the Gulf of Mexico with 150 mph winds.
National Weather Service Miami: Wednesday: “The weather will begin to deteriorate across South Florida, especially by late in the day, as Matthew comes closer to the region. Scattered showers and storms will again be possible, with outer rain bands possibly reaching into portions of the region by late in the day. If these outer rain bands reach into the region, squalls with gusty winds and torrential rainfall will be possible.
“Hurricane Matthew is set to be the first hurricane since Hurricane Wilma in 2005 to have direct impacts to South Florida.”
National Weather Service Melbourne: “The recent NHC intensity and forecast track of Hurricane Matthew, following the more reliable models brings the strong hurricane closer to the ECFL coast during Thursday afterno on and into Thursday night. Wind radii on the current forecast bring sustained tropical storm force winds to the coastal counties with gusts to hurricane force in squalls along the coast and tropical storm conditions across the interior counties Thursday night into Friday given the category three strength of the storm. Along with the threat of wind and rain squalls, there will be a chance of flooding rains and significant beach erosion potential.”