Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hurricane Warning: "Once Again a Cat 4 Storm, Potentially Disastrous Matthew Rolls Toward Florida Coast"

Well, it's been 4000 days since the U.S. has had a major (cat 3 or above) landfalling hurricane so it's definitely overdue.
From Wunderblog,  6:27 PM GMT on October 06, 2016:
Hurricane Matthew is once again an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm. Matthew’s top sustained winds were upgraded to 140 mph in the 11 am EDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center, based on surface wind data collected by dropsondes (parachute-borne instrument packages) and the SFMR radiometer aboard Hurricane Hunter aircraft. Matthew’s central pressure dropped more than 12 millibars overnight, and a jump in surface winds typically follows such a drop after 12-24 hours. Hurricane Warnings are now in place from Broward County, Florida, to Ediston Beach, South Carolina. As of 2 pm EDT Thursday, Matthew’s sustained winds were holding at 140 mph, with the storm located about 125 miles east-southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida. 
Matthew’s eye, clearly visible on satellite, was approaching the north end of Andros Island in The Bahamas around noon on Thursday. The especially dangerous right-hand side of Matthew’s eyewall passed over or very near New Providence Island, including Nassau. Since the city lies on the north side of the island, it is shielded to a large extent from storm surge with a northwestward-moving hurricane such as Matthew. 
The northwest Bahamas getting poundedOver the past day, The Bahamas have taken a severe pounding from Hurricane Matthew. On Wednesday evening, the hurricane passed within 50 miles of Exuma, where WU member ExumaMET had this to report: Morning all. It was an intense night here. I recorded Sustained winds over 100 and gusts way into category 4 strength with one gust hitting 153 mph before something took out my instrument. We're still in tropical storm force and it should be interesting to see what the island looks like as the sun comes up. 
At 2:19 am EDT Thursday, winds at a personal weather station (PWS) on Staniel Cay, Exumas, located in the strong right eyewall of Matthew, about 30 miles east-northeast of hurricane’s center, peaked at 92 mph, gusting to 101 mph. The pressure bottomed out at 984 mb at that time, and 14.13” of rain fell in the period midnight to 1 pm EDT.  

After passing Exuma, Matthew marched northwest, passing between Andros Island to the west and New Providence Island to the east. The strongest winds of the right-front quadrant of Matthew hit New Providence between 9 - 11 am today. Winds at 9 am EDT at the Nassau airport on New Providence were 58 mph, gusting to 85 mph. The airport stopped transmitting data after that, as did the four PWS’s on the island. It is likely that the island experienced a ten-foot storm surge on the south shore. 
Matthew is continuing northwest, and will pass between the Berry Islands and Grand Bahama Island this afternoon and this evening. At 2 pm EDT Thursday, an automated station in the Berry Islands, located about 50 miles to the northeast of Matthew’s center, reported a sustained wind of 59 mph, with gusts to 76 mph. A personal weather station (PWS) on the Berry Islands reported sustained winds of 85 mph—but the quality of the wind data was suspect. The pressure was 971 mb. 
Settlement Point on Grand Bahama Island will be in the northeast eyewall of Matthew at approximately 8 pm tonight. As of 1 pm EDT, the winds were 43 mph, gusting to 47 mph. 
The forecast for Matthew through FridayMatthew may well strengthen further on Thursday afternoon and evening, but there is only a small chance (estimated at 23% in the 12Z Thursday SHIPS model) that it will reach Category 5 strength. More likely, Matthew will approach the Florida coast tonight as a Category 4 storm, then slide up the coast on Friday with a gradual weakening trend, as greater wind shear, drier air, and land interactions take their toll. How long Matthew retains its strength depends largely on how long the center stays entirely offshore, rolls along the coast, or nudges just inland at some point....

And from WeatherBELL (HT: Ryan Maue) the 18-hour forecast from 3 pm EDT Oct 6:

If blank, model image not available
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