Hurricane Matthew has left a destructive path across the Caribbean. Hurricane force winds are occurring along the Florida coast today as the eye moves almost parallel to the coast.
The sustained winds were at 120mph during the mid-morning near the center. It was tracking north/northwest at 13mph. The pressure was at 944mb (millibars) which converts to 27.86″ of mercury. On the satellite and radar it appears that there is an eyewall replacement cycle. That basically means that there is an inner and an outer eyewall.
These compete for energy, and can reduce the strength of the hurricane in the short term as the outer eyewall takes over. Between that and the current offshore track its possible that there may be lesser damage from the winds across coastal Florida. There will still be damage though as it is a category 3 hurricane. After affecting Florida Matthew will move northward. It will probably stay just offshore from Jacksonville, FL and Savannah, GA.
By this evening the hurricane is forecast to turn northeast. Then it will be more on an easterly track Saturday into Sunday. By Sunday it will then move to the southeast and away from our region. It will then push southward as a tropical storm Monday into the middle of next week. It will weaken quite a bit by that time.
This was the track from this morning, but the models have been trending more northward. They take it a little closer to Hatteras by Sunday.
So I think the track will shift a little northward later today. This does have some impacts on our forecast. The wind shouldn’t be bad here on Saturday. However, the wind will probably be pretty strong across the region by Sunday morning. I think we could see some gusts above 60mph down towards Hatteras. Here is the wind forecast for that time.
I’m still not expecting the destructive winds in Southeast Virginia/Hampton Roads. Winds could gust to 35mph around Virginia Beach and maybe a few spots inland. We’ll see less on the Eastern Shore and over most of the Bay. I do think we could see gusts to 45mph over the Outer Banks with a few gusts above 60mph possible down towards Hatteras/Rodanthe NC. The wind will be strong Sunday morning through noon, but then the winds should drop during the afternoon.
Rain will be a different animal. The moisture from Matthew will push north of the hurricane itself. Plus, there is another feature to factor in. A cold front….
This front will be able to focus the moisture over our region. The models have only really started to pick up on this over the last 24 hours. So now it looks like we could get some flooding in our region. There is a Flash Flood Watch up for all of eastern North Carolina and also the Virginia Southside from Saturday through Sunday afternoon. The rain looks to start up Saturday evening.
It really kicks into high gear after midnight and goes through the middle of Sunday morning.
The models have really (REALLY) beefed up the rainfall in the last 24 hours. Here is what Future Trak is estimating through Sunday:
This seems a bit high, but by how much I don’t know. In comparison here is the rain forecast from the European model. It’s a bit more conservative:
I think if we merge the two models then we come up with this:
1-2″ for the Eastern Shore and Middle Peninsula. 1-3″ on the Peninsula. 2-4″ over the Southside with locally higher amounts. 3-7″ over northeast North Carolina with a potential 5-10″ from the Albemarle Sound down to Hatteras. Anything above 4″ will cause flooding. So that’s why there is a Flash Flood Watch. Keep in mind that rain totals are typically a little high this far out in the forecast. Sometimes they come down as the event gets closer. So things might come more in-line with the European model. We’ll see. At least we have had a good amount of time since the recent flooding over the area. So hopefully the ground will be a little better equipped to handle this incoming rain.
Along with possible flooding from the rain, we will also have some tidal flooding. We’ll only have some nuisance tidal flooding tonight into tomorrow. Then we may see some minor tidal flooding by Saturday afternoon. However, things are pointing to moderate tidal flooding in Hampton Roads by Sunday morning. Here is the latest forecast for Sewell’s Point:
There will probably be some moderate tidal flooding along the Outer Banks too. Duck N.C. is forecast to rise to 6.1ft by Sunday morning. This is up to moderate levels. I wouldn’t be surprised if some major tidal flooding happens down towards the Hatteras/Rodanthe area. Tidal flooding shouldn’t be much on the Eastern Shore. You can check the latest tidal forecast from the National Weather Service here: NWS tide forecast.
So here’s the bottom line: I don’t expect a big storm here in Hampton Roads. However, we will have some impacts. Some flooding is possible along with moderate tidal flooding. Winds won’t be destructive force, but we may see a few trees knocked over since we’ve had so much rain recently. The root structures are weaker. So that’s why. However, most of southeast Virginia should see winds below 40mph. (A severe thunderstorm has winds of 58mph or greater). Conditions could be rough over parts of northeast North Carolina. The rain may be very heavy. Plus the winds will be stronger over the Outer Banks. The worst of the conditions will be closer to the hurricane. So I expect some rough conditions from Hatteras to mainland Dare county. There may be some severe winds down that way. We’ll have plenty of updates before Saturday night. So we’ll be able to refine the forecast.
Either way conditions will improve Sunday afternoon into Monday. We’ll see some much cooler weather Sunday into Monday as high temps will be in the 60s. It will be pretty nice next week.
By the way…I’ve had to focus so much on Matthew.. Nicole actually did become a hurricane this morning. In fact it had strengthened into a category 2 hurricane.
It is forecast to weaken to a tropical storm and meander around northward. It could impact Bermuda as a tropical storm, but we’ll see.
Ok…my fingers are tired now. I am going to re-group. We’ll have updates on all of this later today.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler