Hurricane Matthew Closing in on Catastrophic Haiti Strike; Hurricane Warnings in Cuba and Bahamas; Southeast U.S. Impacts Possible


October 3, 2016

A catastrophic strike is imminent in Haiti Monday night into Tuesday.



  • Hurricane Matthew is still a Category 4 hurricane.
  • Hurricane warnings are posted in Jamaica, Haiti, eastern Cuba and the southeast Bahamas.
  • A hurricane watch is in effect in the central Bahamas.
  • It is still uncertain how close Matthew tracks near the U.S. coast late this week.
  • Regardless, large swells, coastal flooding and beach erosion is a certainty.



Hurricane Matthew is closing in on delivering a potentially catastrophic strike on Haiti, and will also impact parts of Jamaica, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas.

Late this week and into the weekend, portions of the coastal southeastern U.S. states could see impacts from Matthew. Interests from Florida to the coastal Carolinas should monitor the progress of Matthew very closely.

Hurricane warnings continue in Jamaica, Haiti, eastern Cuba, and the southeastern Bahamas. Hurricane watches remain in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Cuban province of Camaguey, and the central Bahamas, including Long Island, Exuma, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Cat Island.

Hurricane Matthew is moving slowly northward as a strong and extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane, located about 250 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Matthew's tropical storm-force wind field (at least 39 mph sustained winds) extends up to 185 miles from the center, and hurricane-force winds extend up to 35 miles from the center.

Some fluctuations in intensity are possible over the next couple of days, but Matthew will likely remain a powerful hurricane through its Caribbean voyage.

Here is the approximate timing of the worst wind and surge impacts, coinciding with the nearest passage of the eyewall of Matthew.

Jamaica: Late Monday/early Tuesday
Haiti/Dominican Republic: Late Monday/Tuesday
Eastern Cuba: Tuesday/Tuesday night
Southeast & central Bahamas/Turks & Caicos: Tuesday afternoon into at least Wednesday night


U.S. Threat?

Beyond that, it remains uncertain how close Matthew's eyewall will pass near the northwest Bahamas later Thursday into Friday, and it is still too soon to determine how big the danger will be in parts of the U.S. late this week and next weekend.

For now, ensemble forecast guidance suggests we can't rule out at least tropical storm-force winds along the eastern Florida coast in the Thursday-Friday timeframe.

What will ultimately determine how close Matthew comes to at least the southeast U.S. coast (Virginia Tidewater southward to the Carolinas and Florida) involves the timing and strength of upper-level high pressure along the East giving way to a southward dip in the jet stream, or upper trough, approaching from the central U.S. Here are the two scenarios:

Bigger U.S. coastal threat: Stronger and/or later-departing upper high pressure system off/near the Northeast coast with weaker and/or later-arriving upper-level trough from the Plains.

Lower U.S. coastal threat: Weaker and/or faster-departing upper high pressure system off/near Northeast coast with stronger and/or faster-arriving upper-level trough from the Plains.

Recent runs of forecast guidance suggests at least a decent chance of tropical storm-force winds near the coast of the Carolinas and southeast Virginia Friday into Saturday.

That said, the forecast remains highly uncertain, which is not uncommon for a forecast beyond 4 days out. The severity of any impacts will depend on how close the center of Matthew moves near the southeastern states.

Even if Matthew stays well to the east of Florida and the East Coast, dangerous swells, coastal flooding and beach erosion are likely, particularly from the Virginia Tidewater south late this week into the weekend.

We also cannot yet rule out a close call for the rest of the Northeast seaboard, including New England and even Atlantic Canada, later this weekend.


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