Matthew batters Nassau; East-Central Florida landfall looks likely

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Satellite of Hurricane Matthew at 1:45 p.m. EDT Thursday. (Credit: NOAA)

The eye of Hurricane Matthew could move over or near Freeport on Grand Bahama Island on Thursday night, the National Hurricane Center said at 2 p.m. That’s a bit east of the west end of the island, which was showing up on GFS forecast model projections.

Freeport is 87 miles due east of West Palm Beach, and hurricane force winds extend 60 miles from the center, according to the NHC.

Tropical storm force winds extend 160 miles from the center.

The National Weather Service in Miami is calling for sustained north winds of 40-60 mph in West Palm Beach Thursday night with wind gusts of up to 80 mph.

In Melbourne, the National Weather Service is forecasting 40-60 mph winds Thursday night and 80-100 mph early Friday morning with gusts to 125 mph.

The Space Coast, from Melbourne to the Kennedy Space Center, was most likely to get highest winds from Matthew, according to Weather Underground.

The center of the storm was just north of Andros Island at 2 p.m. and was moving northwest at 14 mph with winds near 140 mph, a Category 4. A turn toward the north-northwest late Thursday or early Friday.

The afternoon run of the GFS showed Matthew edging on to the coast in East-Central Florida early Friday morning. The GFS still shows a loop in the Atlantic this weekend as Matthew turns south back toward Florida, but as a weakened storm.

Matthew caused extensive flooding in Nassau on Thursday and uprooted trees as the center passed just to the west, according to the Caribbean Hurricane Network. Click on the link for photos of flooding and damage.

The airport in Nassau reported winds of 58 mph gusting to 85 mph before it stopped transmitting wind date, Weather Underground reported.

Also at 2 p.m. Nicole became the Atlantic season’s sixth hurricane with winds of 80 mph. It was forecast to meander in the Central Atlantic and reach a peak strength of 90 mph on Friday night.

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Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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