Will Hurricane Matthew Impact The U.S.?
PHOTO: This is one potential path that Hurricane Matthew could take. (Courtesy Accuweather.com)
Could Hurricane Matthew continue to churn north and hit the United States later this week?
Tropical storms have unpredictable paths, and sometimes die out after passing over land, but right now the short answer is … yes.
Currently, Matthew is a Category 4 storm as it heads toward Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba on Sunday and Monday. It briefly reached Category 5 status last Friday – the most powerful on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale from the National Hurricane Center – but still nonetheless has the potential for winds up to 145 miles per hour.
For the moment, those in the U.S. are still in a watch-and-wait mode as forecasters track the storm. One projection has it coming straight up the south Florida coast and into Georgia and the Carolinas, hugging the east coast as it continues north and begins to dissipate – but still bringing plenty of wind, rain and the potential for flooding.
Another projection has Hurricane Matthew being pushed east, farther out to sea.
According to Accuweather.com and meteorologist Mike Doll, as the storm tracks northward it will encounter separate weather patterns – an area of high pressure over the Atlantic, a dip in the jet stream over the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, and a storm system currently brewing in the central part of the U.S.
"If that system is slower to reach the eastern U.S., the chance that Matthew hits the Carolinas is greater," Doll said. "If the system is faster, it could then pick up Matthew and kick it out to sea.”
But even in that best-case projection, Matthew is still such a powerful storm that even its diminishing winds and rains will cause inclement weather along the east coast, potentially all the way north to New York and beyond – including one scenario where Matthew re-forms and gets drawn back into New England or the Maritime Provinces of Canada.
"The key message is that we cannot rule out a direct impact along the East Coast," Doll said. "However, confidence is high that Matthew will not track into the Gulf of Mexico."
More by Rich Thomaselli
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