Hurricane Matthew Update (Tuesday)

Hurricane Matthew is currently a category 4 hurricane making landfall over the extreme eastern tip of Cuba tonight.  Winds are sustained at 140 mph with higher gusts.
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Hurricane Matthew will move north into the Bahamas Wednesday and Thursday where Hurricane Warnings are up.  It’s looking more and more likely Matthew will be a major threat for the southeastern part of the United States.  Interests along the east coast of Florida, Georgia, South, and North Carolina will be monitoring this storm closely in the coming days. Matthew has the potential to be devastating where/if it makes landfall.
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East coast Florida north of Daytona would be an area to watch.
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Where the storms goes after that is still highly uncertain.  We’re feeling confident northern New England will not receive a direct hit from Matthew.  There are two paths the storm could take and it depends on where it is and the strength of an approaching east coast trough.

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Scenario 1.  Most forecast modeling is tracking the storm a few hundred south and east of Cape Cod. An approaching east coast trough captures the storm, but too far east for a direct hit here in New England.  With that scenario, northern New England would be on the edge of a “hybrid” type storm.  If it makes a trip that far north, Matthew will likely not be a true tropical clone in northern latitudes and take on the physics more like a nor’easter.  The wind field will expand outward from the center and rain fall would probably be the big ticket item.  The more and more I think about this scenario, it could be beneficial putting a dent in drought situation across the area.  Each one of those lines indicates a different computer model and it’s respective track of the storm. The thicker orange line is the official Hurricane Center Track.  Note most models suggest a track farther south and east of NHC. I anticipate NHC will shift their track south and east.
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Scenario 2.  Two reliable forecast models including the historically reliable/accurate European model now suggest a track stalling and staying south of North Carolina.  The model is seeing an east coast trough too week to capture hurricane Matthew for a journey north. An analogy would be a hitchhiker thumbing for a ride on the side of the road. The vehicle passes by with out picking up Matthew.   That track would still provide a major threat for the southeast portion of the united states.  Closer to home, that scenario would provide three nice days here in Maine for the long holiday weekend.  A faster front may produce a few showers Saturday but that’s about it.

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This track has support from the UKMet as well.

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The bottom line, as the storm gets closer there’s actually more uncertainty in it’s track. Confidence level is high Matthew is a big threat to Florida, Georgia, and the Carolina’s.  Farther north the track highly uncertain.  Even a northern track would likely not be a direct hit in northern New England any even provide some beneficial rain.  Stay tuned. In the mean time, enjoy the string of sunny early October days.

Charlie Lopresti

About Charlie Lopresti

Charlie makes up the "Weather Part" of CBS News 13s evening edition. A native New Englander, he grew up enjoying the area's exciting and sometimes wild weather.