Saturday, October 1, 2016

Hurricaine Matthew Category 5... Hurricaine Winds of 160 MPH.... NEXT STOP THE US?

Matthew Intensifies Into a Rare Category 5 Hurricane; Forecast to Turn Toward Jamaica, Cuba

 Current Storm Status

 

Story Highlights
Matthew is now a Category 5 hurricane, rapidly intensifying in the central Caribbean Sea.
Hurricane conditions are possible in Jamaica on Monday, with tropical storm conditions beginning late Sunday.
Tropical storm conditions are likely in northern Colombia overnight.
Jamaica, Hispañola, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas face a hurricane threat early next week.
Potential U.S. impacts for next week remains unclear, but it is possible that Matthew could get close to the U.S.
Major Hurricane Matthew strengthened to a rare Category 5 late Friday evening, and it continues to strengthen. Matthew is the first Category 5 hurricane since Hurricane Felix in 2007. 
The storm poses a danger to Jamaica, parts of Hispañola, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas early next week. Its potential U.S. impact later next week still remains unclear. Impacts are possible in Florida during the middle of next week. 
Hurricane Matthew became the fifth hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season early Thursday afternoon.
Matthew was located 80 miles northwest of Punta Gallinas, Colombia, as of Friday evening. 
A Hurricane Hunters reconnaissance mission Friday evening measured winds of 160 mph in Matthew's eyewall. The central pressure continues to drop as Matthew intensifies, although not as quickly as was occurring on Friday morning into the afternoon.
A hurricane watch has been issued for Jamaica. Winds of 75 mph or greater are possible on Monday, and tropical storm force winds may begin late Sunday.
A tropical storm warning continues for he northern coast of Colombia. Winds of 40 mph or greater are likely in northern Colombia on Friday evening.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for the southern coast of Haiti from the border of the Dominican Republic to Port-Au-Prince. Tropical storm force winds may begin there by late Sunday.  
Impacts to land should be on a temporary waning trend through Saturday as Matthew moves away from Colombia.

Current Wind Speed and Gusts 

Trips through the Caribbean are strongly ill-advised. 

The 'Caribbean Right Turn'

There are some signs as of Friday night that the rapid intensifcation phase of Friday may be coming to an end. 
Some flucturations in intensity are possible over the next day or so. Matthew may undergo an "eyewall replacement cycle," which occurs when strong bands of wind and rain replace the eyewall of a hurricane. This is common in extremely powerful hurricanes of this stature.
This cycle could begin a weakening phase as Matthew turns toward the northwest on Saturday.  
Some moderate shear continues to exist surrounding Matthew, and this may finally have some effect on the hurricane. 
Given the current southern track, outer bands of rain and winds to tropical storm force are likely in portions of coastal Colombia to the Venezuela border through early Saturday.
Sometime on Saturday or early Sunday, Matthew should make a long-anticipated northwest or northward turn in the Caribbean Sea, as the system reaches the southwestern edge of the Bermuda high.
Beyond that, uncertainty is still considerable on the critical details of this system.
The critical details regarding when exactly that turn is made, how sharp it is, and Matthew's intensity at that time will dictate the impacts for Jamaica, Hispañola, and eastern or central Cuba.
Phases of rapid intensification like the one experienced by Matthew on Thursday and Friday only hamper efforts to gain a better handle on the forecast, but the forecast is becoming more clear. 
Impacts could begin in Jamaica and Hispañola (particularly Haiti) as soon as Sunday night, and in eastern Cuba as soon as Monday.
Rainfall amounts in western Haiti, Jamaica, and parts of eastern Cuba could get near 12 inches. Isolated amounts of 16-20 inches in the mountainous regions of Jamaica and Haiti are possible, and life threatening flash floods and mudslides may be a result. 
In addition, there is uncertainty regarding Matthew's intensity as it nears those locations. Matthew may be stronger or weaker than the current forecast due to the potential eyewall replacement cycle.
 In addition, there is uncertainty regarding Matthew's intensity as it nears those locations. Matthew may be stronger or weaker than the current forecast due to the potential eyewall replacement cycle.

 Projected Path and Intensity 

Beyond that, Matthew is likely to begin impacting parts of the central or southeastern Bahamas, or even the Florida East Coast by Tuesday and Wednesday.

U.S. Threat?

Beyond that, it is still too soon to determine which parts of the U.S. may be in danger next week, however there may be some impacts to south Florida by mid-week. There is a large amount of uncertainty going into next week. 
We will know a lot more about the future track of Matthew after the hurricane completes the northward turn by late Saturday or early Sunday. 
For now, ensemble forecast guidance has leddened the threat of a Gulf of Mexico track, but we cannot rule out an East Coast threat later next week.
Even if Matthew stays sufficiently off the East Coast, a threat of dangerous swells, coastal flooding, and beach erosion is likely to be in play along parts of the Eastern Seaboard.
Colorado State University tropical scientist, Dr. Phil Klotzbach noted 60 percent of landfalling U.S. hurricanes from September 27 and beyond since 1900 have occurred in Florida. However, while lower probability, there have been landfalls this late in the season as far west as the Texas Gulf Coast.

  
For now, all interests in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas and U.S. East Coast including Florida should continue to monitor the progress of Matthew. Preparations in Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas should be underway.

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