Can Matthew Survive To Torment FL Again?
Hurricane Matthew has passed by Florida and is now making landfall upon South Carolina. However, S.C. isn’t seeing nearly the type of winds that Florida’s coast saw. As of Saturday morning the hurricane has been downgraded to a category 1.
The storms maximum sustained winds are at 75 mph. As of now forecasters are saying Matthew could whip back around to hit Florida again, though it’s not certain the path the storm will take after hitting S.C.
In Florida five people lost their lives to the storm. Daytona Beach took an especially hard hit from the storm, seeing major wind damage and flooding.
South Florida Survives Matthew
Hurricane Matthew has made it’s way along Florida’s coast overnight and lost a little of its strength. Now a category 3 hurricane, the storm is about 64 miles from the Daytona Beach area.
High winds are of the most concern from Matthew. Areas of Cape Canaveral recorded gusts of 107 mph. The winds have left over 66,000 Florida Power & Light customers without power in South Florida. Over 60,000 Duke Energy customers are left without power across South Florida.
Matthew’s eye continues to hug Florida’s coast as it makes it’s way north. Storm surges have been the principle source of damage. In Cape Canaveral a 17-foot wave was sighted.
Forecasters warn that though South Florida did not see much damage from Matthew, those in North Florida should prepare because the most damage is likely to come as the storm continues its move north.
On Thursday President Barack Obama, at Scott’s request, declared an emergency in Florida. He ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local response efforts.
Florida Already Feeling Matthew
Matthew will be the strongest hurricane to strike Florida’s east coast since hurricane Andrew. The eye wall will be the most destructive and strongest winds that central-east Florida has ever seen.
The damage from this storm could leave areas uninhabited for weeks or months. The storm is still battering northern parts of the Bahamas as the eye of Matthew is making progress towards Florida’s coast.
Florida is already feeling the outer bands of Matthew with high wind gusts. Conditions will deteriorate through Thursday evening.
Here is the most appropriate time frame of the storm, per the Weather Channel:
- Southeast Florida: Thursday evening through early Friday
- East-central, northeastern Florida: Friday through Friday night
- Georgia coast: Friday evening through Saturday morning
- South Carolina: Saturday through Saturday night
- North Carolina (mainly south): Saturday afternoon through early Sunday
Matthew Could Intensify To A Cat 5
According to Fox 13’s Paul Dellegatto, environmental conditions are favorable for further intensification. Dellegatto says Matthew could turn into a category 5 hurricane along Florida east coast. Making matters worse, the western eye of the storm could reach as far west as Orlando causing significant damage. With this type of destruction millions of people will be without power for weeks.
The death toll from Matthew has risen to 108 in Haiti and 114 across the Caribbean.
Florida To Feel Matthew’s Wrath Today
Hurricane Matthew will begin hitting parts of Florida today starting with south Florida and moving up along the east coast. The storm remains a powerful category 4 after veering slightly west and strengthening overnight. Governor Rick Scott is urging residents to not underestimate this storm.
Scott has issued hurricane evacuations along the eastern coast of Florida. He also urges residents along the west coast to call friends and open their homes to those needing to get away from the east coast.
Yesterday there were 58 shelters open to Florida residents evacuating. Scott said that today 84 more shelters would open. Hospitals along the coast are also being evacuated.
Storm surges have become one of the biggest concerns from Hurricane Matthew. Florida should expect storm surges anywhere from five to nine feet.
Power outages are the next concern. Scott said it was a given that those along the east coast will lose power. Power companies will do all they can to keep power going and get it back up as quickly as possible, but residents should be prepared to be without power.
Winds have increased along the coast. Wind gust can range from 100-150 mph and will be strongest late Thursday night. If Matthew rides right along the coast then high winds can be seen further inland, as far as Lake Okeechobee and Orlando.
Residents that aren’t evacuating are preparing for the storms fury. Local stores are seeing empty shelves and gas stations in the south are running out of fuel.
Florida To Be Hit By Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew has shifted further west than forecasters originally thought it would. With that being said, Florida is now bracing for impact.
The storm has already been blamed for 11 deaths in the Caribbean and now it is churning towards U.S. soil. Florida residents are not waiting around though, preparations are beginning after Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency.
Florida gas stations attendants have begun seeing long lines and 500 additional National Guard members are expected to be activated by Scott Wednesday morning.
Florida residents near the coast are being advised to leave and residents in Brevard County are being ordered to leave as one of the state’s first mandatory evacuations has been issued for residents of Merritt Island and other barrier islands.
The storm is predicted to hit Florida starting Thursday night and last until Saturday morning. Scott is saying this devastating storm could lead to “massive destruction” like what Hurricane Andrew did to the Miami area in 1992.
Right now there are tropical storm watches, hurricane watches and hurricane warnings issued for parts of Florida.
Right now the hurricane is remaining at a category 3, but some forecasters are saying the storm could pick back up to a category 4 before hitting Florida. Wind speeds are near 125 mph and the storm is moving at 10 mph toward the Bahamas now.
What To Expect From Matthew
According to the Weather Channel, large swells, coastal flooding and beach erosion are a certainty for Florida. For this reason residents close to the coast have been asked to seek further inland.
Residents further inland, but still in the storms cone, can expect wind gusts up to 50 mph while closer to the coast could feel up to 74+ mph winds. Wind speed will depend on the location of Matthew’s eye and how close it passes to Florida.
During the past few days the track of Matthew has suggested passing closer to Florida, which means a higher probability of strong, damaging winds.
Residents are being told to have enough food, water and supplies to last three days. Downed trees and power lines causing massive power outages are to be expected as well.
Duke Energy has activated their emergency response plan and storm center. Line workers and additional contractor crews have also been briefed about quick responses to power outages.
In case of power outages residents are being warned to check their supply of flashlights, batteries, medicines, etc. Duke Energy also advises to not bring generators inside, that type of equipment is meant to operate outside.
There are potentially two other threats Floridians might face from the storm, rainfall flooding and tornadoes. The heaviest rainfall totals will range from 5-12 inches along the coast of Florida. Tornadoes might also form along the Southeast coast, especially if Matthew makes landfall.
Due to the high winds and rain, residents are urged to secure anything that might be picked up by wind gusts in their yards. Also bring in small animals and secure anything around barns or sheds.
Check back with News Talk Florida as we continue to monitor Hurricane Matthews progression towards Florida.
Video is courtesy of Livestream partner WCBD TV News 2 Charleston, South Carolina