Hurricane Matthew briefly was classified at a Category 5 (exceeding 156 mph)–the highest level–making it one of the most powerful hurricanes since Felix in 2007. Now a Category 4 (maximum sustained winds of 130-156 mph)), it stalled on Saturday but has started a northward trend as expected.
The latest projections show Matthew’s center likely to strike the southwestern tip of Haiti on Monday. A hurricane warning has been issued for the impoverished country which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. It will continue moving north through the Bahamas.
There remains at this early stage a lot of uncertainty according to several tracking models as to whether there will be a direct strike in the Carolinas, or veer off to sea.
The expected time to reach the general latitudes of the the Carolinas is Friday into Saturday, and more detailed information will be known within the next 24 to 48 hours.
Locally, dangerous rip currents and high surf are affecting the area according to the NWS Forecast Office Newport/Morehead City, N.C.
Many islanders voiced concerns about the potential for serious flooding since the island has recently received a lot of rain and the water levels in Silver Lake Harbor and the sound are already very high.
Although bird nesting is over there remains many turtle nests with unhatched eggs that could be wiped out.
The following was posted by the Hyde County Emergency Services today and more updates will be forthcoming in the following days.
POWERFUL HURRICANE MATTHEW MEANDERING BUT EXPECTED TO MOVE NORTHWESTWARD TO NORTHWARD…
Hurricane Matthew has essentially stalled in the Central Caribbean, moving erratically over the past 24 hours. Matthew is currently moving west at 3 mph and located approximately 347 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince (14.0°N 74.6°W), which only about 13 miles closer to Haiti than is was at this time yesterday. The hurricane is forecast to continue a northwestward to northward forward motion at some point today.
Currently, Matthew is a Category 4 with 140 mph maximum sustained winds. The eye of Matthew has become obscured on visible satellite images, which is often an indication of weakening. Microwave images showed a distinct dry slot over the southwestern and western portions of the circulation. Also there has been a persistent, but inexplicable, cluster of deep convection located a couple of degrees to the east of the hurricane and the effect of this feature on Matthew’s intensity evolution is unknown. Additionally, since the storm has essentially been stationary, the upwelling of cooler water could also be a factor contributing to the observed weakening. The NHC expects steady weakening over the next five days, as indicated by the max wind speed forecast published at 11 a.m.
Despite Matthew drifting a bit further westward than expected on Sunday morning, the models are very unified in their two-day track forecasts for Matthew. A large upper-level low pressure system over east-central U.S. will pull Matthew to the north through Tuesday, resulting in a landfall or a near-miss in southwest Haiti on Monday night into Tuesday morning, followed by a second landfall in eastern Cuba/northwest Haiti on Tuesday morning. Matthew will then continue northwards into the southeastern Bahamas on Tuesday afternoon.
Matthew’s anticipated landfall over Jamaica/Cuba/Haiti on Monday into Tuesday will weaken the storm, due to the high mountains it will interact with. However, it now appears that Matthew will have limited time over land, due to the storm’s expected track mostly over the water areas between Haiti and Cuba. Matthew’s inner core may be able to survive the land interaction, resulting in a much stronger storm in the Bahamas. Matthew is likely to be a major Category 3 or stronger hurricane for at least a portion of its trek through the Bahamas. As Matthew moves north of the Bahamas, waters will cool and the shear is likely to increase, resulting in some weakening late next week.
Local emergency protective measures
The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast and issue internal advisories as appropriate. Given the current forecast timing, serious discussions regarding emergency preparations and protective measures may begin as early as Monday. Matthew is a very dangerous storm and given current conditions, it could pose a significant threat to Eastern North Carolina.