Thursday, September 29, 2016

Matthew Strengthens, Mid-Atlantic Floods

A strengthening Tropical Storm Matthew looked
healthy on visible satellite imagery Thursday morning.  
As expected, Tropical Storm Matthew was continues to strengthen as it cruised westbound through the Caribbean Sea,

At 8 a.m. Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said Matthew had top sustained winds of 70 mph, just short of hurricane strength. The Center said Matthew will very likely grow into a hurricane later today or tonight.  

The storm has already caused problems as it moved through the Lesser Antilles islands on Wednesday.

One person was killed by the storm on St. Vincent, a wind gust of 89 mph was reported at a high elevation station in St. Pierre, Martinique, and damage was reported in Barbados as well.

Matthew is over very warm water, and strong upper level winds over the storm that would interfere its development are forecast to weaken. Matthew could become a pretty damn strong hurricane

Most of the forecasts are still saying Matthew will take a sharp right turn northward Sunday or Monday, which would make the then-hurricane a threat to Jamaica, Cuba and/or Hispaniola.

After that, we still don't know what will happen. Matthew will likely weaken as it goes over the land masses and mountains of these islands, but could strengthen again once it gets by there.

Where it goes is an even bigger question. Some still take it up the Eastern Seaboard, some skirt it off the coast more so it wouldn't be a threat, and still others steer Matthew back westward into the Gulf of Mexico.

It all depends on how a strong high pressure ridge over the North Atlantic, a storm coming across the nation from the west, and that pesky, floody cut off low in the Ohio Valley and Northeast I talked about yesterday all interact. All those will determine the path of Matthew.

Speaking of that cut off low:


As expected, flooding is ongoing and expected to continue today amid the heavy rains brought in by the cut off storm system that I talked about yesterday.

Southern parts of North Carolina, in and around Fayetteville, got the worst of it. So far, five to eight inches of rain has fallen there, and a flash flood emergency is ongoing.  Television station WNCN reported many water rescues from cars and homes in that region.

There are also numerous flood and flash flood warnings in parts of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and New Jersey. Several roads along the I-95 corridor were shut down by high water early this morning so I'm sure the commute into the Washington DC area this morning was an absolute joy.

More areas of heavy rain are forecast for the region today, so flooding will continue.

I still don't think much rain will make it into New England, which really needs it, but at least a little rain will come down over the weekend up there.

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