Wobbling its way just off the coastline from Palm Beach, Florida all the way to Charleston, S.C. the track of Hurricane Matthew has not only closely followed the forecast path by the National Hurricane center, it has shown what a difference 20 miles can make.
As bad as it was, had it tracked 20 miles further west and the story for the east coast of Florida would have been much worse. Floridians only saw the `weak' side of the storm, and experienced only a brush from the eye wall.
I've talked overnight with a relative who evacuated the barrier islands of St. Augustine Beach, and it could be days before she can return home. The power and water where she is are out, trees are down all around her, and there's massive flooding in the area.
And that's inland, where she evacuated. We don't yet know what the barrier islands look like.
With sunrise we'll start to get a better idea of the damage, and the slow process of rebuilding will begin. For some, the damage will be minor. For others, a total loss. But regardless, this was far from the worst that could have happened.
Here is the latest 5am update from the National Hurricane Center, as Matthew pulls very close to Charleston South Caroline as a Cat 2 storm.
HURRICANE MATTHEW ADVISORY NUMBER 41
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL142016
500 AM EDT SAT OCT 08 2016
...NORTHERN EYEWALL OF MATTHEW LASHING HILTON HEAD ISLAND AND PRITCHARDS ISLAND SOUTH CAROLINA WITH HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS......STORM SURGE FLOODING OCCURRING IN GEORGIA AND SOUTH CAROLINA...
SUMMARY OF 500 AM EDT...0900 UTC...INFORMATION
ABOUT 20 MI...30 KM SE OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND SOUTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 60 MI...100 KM SSW OF CHARLESTON SOUTH CAROLINA MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...105 MPH...165 KM/H PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 12 MPH...19 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...955 MB...28.20 INCHES
1. The western eyewall of Matthew, which contains hurricane-force winds, is now moving over the northern coast of Georgia and the southern coast of South Carolina and should spread up the coast during the day.
2. Hurricane winds increase very rapidly with height, and occupants of high-rise buildings along the coast are at particular risk of strong winds. Winds at the top of a 30-story building will average one Saffir-Simpson category higher than the winds near the surface.
3. The water hazards remain, even if the core of Matthew remains offshore. These include the danger of life-threatening inundation from storm surge, as well as inland flooding from heavy rains from Florida to North Carolina.
4. The National Hurricane Center is issuing Potential Storm Surge Flooding Maps, and Prototype Storm Surge Watch/Warning graphics for Matthew. It is important to remember that the Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map does not represent a forecast of expected inundation, but rather depicts a reasonable worst-case scenario -- the amount of inundation that has a 10 percent chance of being exceeded.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 08/0900Z 32.0N 80.5W 90 KT 105 MPH
12H 08/1800Z 32.9N 79.4W 80 KT 90 MPH
24H 09/0600Z 33.7N 77.1W 70 KT 80 MPH
36H 09/1800Z 33.4N 75.1W 60 KT 70 MPH
48H 10/0600Z 32.6N 73.5W 50 KT 60 MPH
72H 11/0600Z 29.0N 73.5W 40 KT 45 MPH
96H 12/0600Z 26.0N 75.3W 30 KT 35 MPH
120H 13/0600Z 25.0N 76.2W 30 KT 35 MPH