Friday, September 30, 2016

Mad Matthew

Hurricane Matthew is looking very angry Friday morning as it moves west across the Caribbean Sea uncontested. No land masses to cross and no strong upper winds to weaken it. Intensity forecasting can be tricky, but as of Friday morning there is little to suggest that it will lose steam in the days ahead. It would not be surprising if it gets a little stronger before reaching the islands.

Satellite imagery shows how well organized Matthew is with plenty of feeder banding, strong thunderstorm activity around the center, and good outflow in the upper levels.

This tropical engine is running on all cylinders and there is plenty of jet fuel in its path in the form of hot water.

Parts of South America rarely get impacted by Tropical Systems, but Matthew is unique.

He is dumping 2- 4 inches of rain over Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and northern Colombia. This could lead to flooding concerns.

Where is it headed?
The models remain consistent that Matthew will get pushed North as it slams into a wall of wind ( an Upper Low) coming out of the US.  When exactly it will make the turn is what will dictate where Matthew will end up down the road.

NHC is grappling with this problem and this is what they say:

There is a significant spread in where the turn will
occur and how fast Matthew will move afterwards.  The ECMWF and
UKMET are on the eastern side of the guidance envelope and slower
than the other models, while the GFS and Canadian models are to the
left of the center of the guidance envelope and much faster.  The
various consensus models split these differences in both track and
speed, and the new forecast track lies close to them.  Overall, the
new track is a little south of the previous track through 48 hours
and a little west of the previous track from 72-120 hours.

The official Cone:
After careful consideration, this what the cone of concern looks like.  Keep in mind tropical systems do not travel in a straight line and the system could be anywhere inside the cone.

Jamaica appears to be set to receive the brunt of Matthew as it is forecast to become a major storm with winds over 111 mph.

It will be accompanied with heavy rain and a storm surge that will lead to flooding, land and mudslides. This is a dangerous situation.

Haiti may also see some big downpours and gusty winds as it will be in the northeastern quadrant of the storm, an area that can produce isolated tornadoes as well.

Once it leaves Jamaica, it will traverse over Eastern Cuba and eventually aim for the Bahamas.

Everyone covered in the forecast cone should be getting ready for a serious impact.

South Florida?
From the latest model runs and the official forecast cone, it looks like a close shave for us. I would NOT let my guard down with such a powerful storm nearby. All it takes is for the upper low to slow down and delay the turn of Matthew, and we could be in its sights.

Regardless, if nothing changes, we may see a glancing blown the form of choppy seas, breezy conditions, and some on and off stormy weather. DO NOT let your guard down. Stay tuned just in case Matthew makes a South Florida call.

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