Major hurricane Matthew is looking increasingly as if it will impact a substantial length of Florida and Georgia's coastline, with the first serious impacts expected tomorrow night.
The models could shift some more - preferably to the east - but as we get closer to landfall those opportunities are rapidly dwindling.
This storm has the potential to cause extensive damage and widespread disruptions across a wide swath of Florida in the next 48 hours, and the impacts further north could be severe as well.
There is also the possibility that the storm could loop back, and affect the east coast again later next week. So this could turn out to be a prolonged event for some people.
Mandatory evacuations are being ordered up and down the east coast, and those that remain may find themselves without electricity, water, or essential services for days.
If you live in an evacuation zone, take the warnings to get out seriously. For information on evacuating during a hurricane go to your county's Office of Emergency Management website.
You can find more information at FloridaDisaster.Org.
Here is the latest from the National Hurricane Center's 5pm discussion..
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:
- The Hurricane Watch has been extended northward from Fernandina Beach to Savannah River.
- A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the Florida Gulf Coast from north of Chokoloskee to Suwannee River.
- The Government of Cuba has discontinued the Hurricane Watches and Warnings for Cuba.
- The Tropical Storm Warning for Haiti has been discontinued.
- Matthew is likely to produce devastating impacts from storm surge, extreme winds, and heavy rains in the Bahamas. Please consult statements from the meteorological service and other government officials in that country.
- 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 specify impacts at any one location. 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 within the hurricane warning area in Florida.However, a small deviation to the right could keep the hurricane-force winds offshore. Similarly large variations in impacts are possible in the hurricane watch area in northern Florida andGeorgia.
- Tropical storm or hurricane conditions could affect South Carolina and North Carolina later this week or this weekend, even ifthe center of Matthew remains offshore. It is too soon to determine what, if any, land areas might be directly affected by Matthew next week. At a minimum, dangerous beach and boating conditions are likely along much of the U.S. east coast during the next several days.
- 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. In addition, because the Flooding Map is based on inputs that extend out only to about 72 hours, it best represents the floodingpotential in those locations within the watch and warning areas in Florida and Georgia.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 05/2100Z 22.5N 75.7W 105 KT 120 MPH
12H 06/0600Z 24.0N 76.9W 110 KT 125 MPH
24H 06/1800Z 25.6N 78.5W 115 KT 130 MPH
36H 07/0600Z 27.2N 79.8W 115 KT 130 MPH
48H 07/1800Z 29.0N 80.8W 115 KT 130 MPH
72H 08/1800Z 32.0N 79.5W 90 KT 105 MPH
96H 09/1800Z 32.6N 76.4W 80 KT 90 MPH
120H 10/1800Z 30.0N 74.0W 65 KT 75 MPH