As of the latest advisory, hurricane Matthew is a category 4 hurricane with peak sustained winds of 140 mph.
So wheres he headed? Matthew should make landfall or pass just west of Haiti tomorrow morning, then later tomorrow, Matthew's center should make landfall over far eastern Cuba. Land interaction should weaken Matthew to a category 3 hurricane by tomorrow night. After moving off of Cuba, Matthew will move into the Bahamas. Hurricanes have been known to explode in intensity over the Bahamas, as there aren't any high mountain peaks to damage circulation, and waters are always extremely warm. However, Matthew will have some trouble strengthening in the Bahamas as the wind shear will be quite high. The NHC's cone does a good job of demonstrating the gradual weakening of Matthew.
Luckily, the wind field with Matthew is quite small. If you look at the graphic below you can see just how small the area of hurricane force winds are. Towns that get hit directly by Matthew will still suffer serious wind damage, but it still doesn't look like winds will be the main issue with Matthew.
Even without a massive wind field, a natural disaster is still unfolding in Haiti in the form of rain. Rainfall amounts of over ten inches will be widespread across Haiti, with rainfall amounts of 20 to as much as 40 inches in some of the mountainous western regions. Towns and villages will flood, and mudslides will be widespread. Its also important to remember how unprepared Haiti is for a storm like this. The last time a major hurricane hit Haiti from the south was hurricane Hazel in 1954, and it killed 400 people.
Once hitting the Caribbean and the Bahamas, its looking increasingly likely that Matthew will ride up the east coast, likely affecting us in some way. I think I might do a post on this later this afternoon or evening.
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