Hurricane Matthew is threading the gap between Haiti and Cuba, but parts of eastern Cuba and the Bahamas are next in line for hurricane force and tropical storm force winds. Hurricane watches have been expanded for the East Coast of Florida. Matthew is increasingly likely to have significant impacts along the Southeast U.S. coast later this week. Those impacts may start to arrive in Florida as early as Thursday, potentially spreading northeast to coastal Georgia and the coastal Carolinas by Friday and into the weekend.
(October 2, 2016; 12:40 PM ET) – Hurricane Matthew will impact the U.S. East Coast later this week, but how close it tracks and its strength will determine the severity of the impacts.
Matthew, currently a powerful Category 4 hurricane in the Caribbean, will bring devastating wind, surge, rain and mudslides to Haiti, eastern Cuba and Jamaica Sunday night into Tuesday (Oct 2-4). It will then take aim at the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos through Wednesday.
Beyond that, uncertainty greatly increases in the track, timing and intensity of Matthew. There are several scenarios that could play out which would result in different threats for the U.S. East Coast. As Matthew emerges from the Bahamas around midweek, the U.S. East Coast will need to be on alert.
While the exact track is unknown at this time, Matthew could take a track close to the coast or could pass several hundred miles offshore. Regardless, the U.S. East Coast will still face impacts. AccuWeather Meteorologists expect Matthew to still be a powerful hurricane at midweek as it churns over warm water near the Bahamas.
“At the very least, rough surf and rip currents should impact the East Coast,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said.
The largest waves will likely batter Florida to North Carolina Wednesday through Friday (Oct. 5-7). Rip currents will develop and can be life-threatening, so vacationers and beachgoers should heed local swimming advisories. Beaches will likely experience some erosion as the waves repeatedly batter the coast. Some areas could also experience coastal flooding.
Depending on where Matthew goes after Friday, rough surf could batter coastal areas farther north from Virginia to southern New England. A scenario in which Matthew brushes the East Coast or makes landfall is still on the table. There will be several key factors in determining which way Matthew is steered later in the week and they will have large implications on whether or not Matthew strikes the East Coast. – Read on