Hurricane Matthew will hammer parts of eastern Florida and other parts of the Southeast coast starting Thursday and continuing into the weekend.
As illustrated by the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) projected path map, and also explained below, the severity of any direct impacts will depend on how close the center of Matthew moves near the coast.
HURRICANE MATTHEW FIVE DAY PROJECTED TRACK VIA THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER:
An important point to make is that landfall does NOT need to take place for the worst impacts to come ashore. The strongest winds and most drilling surge will come to the coast in the eyewall, which surrounds the eye. Landfall occurs when the calmest portion of the eye, or the center, comes ashore. Hurricane conditions could come ashore even if the center stays 20 to 30 miles offshore.
All interests from Florida to coastal Georgia and the Carolinas should continue to monitor the forecast closely and make necessary preparations for a hurricane. Those in eastern Florida should make those preparations as soon as possible.
Here is the latest on what we know about Matthew right now in terms of U.S. impacts.
As far as timing for any impacts along the Southeast coast, here is a general overview. The NHC forecast calls for Matthew to be a strong hurricane during this timeframe.
Florida Peninsula (particularly eastern Florida): Thursday-Friday, possibly lingering into early Saturday in northeast Florida.
Southeast Georgia: Friday-Saturday.
Eastern Carolinas: Later Friday-Saturday, possibly continuing into Sunday.
Battering Waves, Coastal Flooding, Beach Erosion Likely
No matter how close the center of Matthew passes in relation to the Southeast coast, we expect major marine impacts.
Matthew will generate large, battering waves along the entire coastline Thursday into the weekend. Mariners and beachgoers are encouraged to stay out of the water given this danger.
Significant coastal flooding is also likely along the path of Matthew from Florida into the Carolinas. The magnitude of any inundation will be dictated by the exact path Matthew takes.Furthermore, the threat for major, damaging storm surge flooding is in play should the center of Matthew make landfall or move right along the immediate coast. Locations from Florida’s east coast to coastal Georgia and coastal South Carolina are at risk for this possibility, though this is still uncertain.
Here is how high the water could reach during this life-threatening inundation if the peak surge coincides with high tide, according to the National Hurricane Center:
- Sebastian Inlet to the Savannah River: 5 to 8 feet above ground level
- Deerfield Beach, Florida, to the Sebastian Inlet: 3-5 feet above ground level
- Virginia Key to Deerfield Beach: 1 to 2 feet above ground level
Of course, beach erosion is a given with all those factors above playing out.
If you live along the immediate coast, stay informed and have a plan to evacuate should you be instructed to do so.
(MORE: Hurricane Central)
Tropical-Storm-Force and Hurricane-Force Winds Likely
Hurricane-force winds (74+ mph) are highly possible along Florida’s east coast starting Thursday night, and potentially north of there in coastal parts of Georgia and the Carolinas Friday into Saturday.
This will particularly be the case if Matthew’s eyewall grinds along the Southeast coast or even makes landfall, again anywhere from Florida’s east coast and points northward from there.