It’s going to be close…very close. At the very least, the United States will see high waves and rip currents along the beaches. At the very worst, a direct hit somewhere along the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. As of Sunday morning Hurricane Matthew is a strong Category 4 monster with its sights set on Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba with eventual plans of tearing through the Bahamas. The small eye shows up clearly on satellite as it packs winds of 150mph sustained.
The storm has made its expected right turn, but there is still uncertainty as to where the storm goes beyond the Bahamas Thursday morning. There is a very complex steering pattern that will ultimately decide Matthew’s fate.
The main two things to pay attention to will be the trough out west and the Bermuda High east of Matthew (Red Symbol).
–The Bermuda High is now working with the system that brought us all the rain to close out September to pull him north. The position of that area of high pressure is crucial to where Matthew goes. The further east that high is the better chance Matthew will have to head out to sea. The further west, the better chance Matthew will have at making a bigger impact along the United States coastline.
–The second main thing to pay attention to is the trough to the west. If it gets here in time all bets for an east coast landfall are off as it will sweep the hurricane back into the Atlantic.
–One of the wild cards in that “other” high in New England. For us mid to late week, the “wedge” will set up giving us clouds and cooler weather, but by Thursday it starts to slide off the coast. This could help to steer Matthew towards the coast if they match up on time. Clockwise flow around high pressure will help to do that.
–A secondary wild card will be area of low pressure (not pictured above) that will develop on the southern periphery of the Bermuda High. Counter-clockwise flow around low pressure could help to keep it away from the Bermuda High and help to push it further west. A lot going on here with limited data where some of these features are making for one tough forecast.
We have moire confidence in the short term that there will be significant and potentially life-threatening impacts throughout parts of the Caribbean.
The trend has been for the forecast to push a little further west as shown by the National Hurricane Center’s most recent forecast. Beyond Friday though there is still some uncertainty as to if Matthew continues towards the mainland and comes ashore, stays eerily close to the shore with much smaller impacts, or leaves us alone all together. My best interpretation is that there will be some impacts along the east coast, but how bad those impacts could be still remains to be seen. Stay tuned!