Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Hurricane Matthew making landfall in Haiti

NOAA satellite image of hurricane Matthew just prior to landfall in western Haiti Tuesday morning. The eye is visible in the center of the image, nearing Tiburon, Haiti.
Powerful hurricane Matthew is making landfall Tuesday morning near Tiburon in western Haiti. Matthew intensified overnight, with maximum sustained winds now of 145mph gusting to 185mph. The eye of the storm increased in diameter as well, allowing the hurricane to look quite impressive on satellite and radar images this morning. Matthew is the first Category 4 storm to make landfall in Haiti since Cleo in 1964. Cleo was responsible for 132 fatalities in Haiti. A weather station in coastal Haiti reported a wind gust to 107mph this morning before it stopped transmitting. Haiti Libre reports major coastal flooding from the storm surge, as well as mudslides. One fatality was reported so far.
Hurricane Matthew will continue to impact Haiti and Jamaica today, with hurricane conditions spreading north into Cuba tonight. Torrential rain over the region, in some cases in excess of 40 inches, is possible. Rain of this magnitude will likely liquify soils, producing widespread flooding and mudslides across Haiti into the Dominican Republic.

Matthew is forecast to move north and then northwest over the next few days. This will bring the center of this dangerous storm into the Bahamas Wednesday, and eventually towards coastal Florida and the Carolinas by late Thursday and Friday. A hurricane watch may be needed later today for a portion of the Florida coast, including the Keys. By this weekend, hurricane Matthew will be moving close to the New England coast, with perhaps direct impacts here in southern and eastern Quebec, as well as Atlantic Canada into Thanksgiving Day. Plenty has to happen before then, but all interests from Florida to Nova Scotia should monitor the progress of Matthew.  

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