|Stunned residents of Baracoa, Cuba |
walk through their city, wrecked by Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew is an even greater threat to Florida than the grave news I had this morning.
As of 11 a.m., Matthew's top winds were up to 140 mph, and more strengthening is certainly possible.
This will cause several billion dollars in damage and is a very, very dangerous storm.
It's been more than a decade since a major hurricane has hit the United States, so we're not used to this.
The part of Florida that will either get hit or badly sideswiped by Matthew has not had a hurricane this strong in recorded history. (The worst of this will be from West Palm Beach north)
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is completely right when he says if you were told to evacuate and didn't, "This storm will kill you."
Here's what the National Weather Service office in Melbourne, Florida says people should expect in that region:
"Structural damage to sturdy buildings, some with complete roof and wall failures. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Damage may be accentuated by large airborne projectiles. Locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months."
There's also going to be terrible storm surge flooding and torrential rains that will flood neighborhoods and streets.
Matthew is very likely to be even worse than the series of hurricanes that struck Florida in 2004.
This hurricane will begin to tear apart eastern Florida later today and be at its worst tonight and Friday. Be very careful and safe if you're down in that area.
By the way, as you'll see in the previous discussion below, Matthew had killed at least 25 people. That death toll had risen to 140 by 1 p.m. EDT today, says Reuters. Expect those numbers to go up, unfortunately.
Persistent and destruction Hurricane Matthew was pounding the Bahamas terribly early this morning as it slowly steamed toward a showdown with Florida.
It appears Category 3 Matthew is scoring a direct hit on the city of Nassau in the Bahamas today.
The resort city has a population of nearly 250,000 and I'm sure it's a terrifying day there. Winds are forecast to gust as high as 130 mph in that city today.
Matthew seemed to be strengthening this morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its top sustained winds were 125 mph and could easily rise as it approaches Florida.
Forecasts for its track right along the Florida east coast have been consistent for a couple days now and are still holding firm.
The trick is, a tiny deviation in Matthew's path could make all the difference in Florida. If it moves a little more to the left, it will crash into Florida's coastline with destructive force, making it one of the worst hurricanes in the nation's history.
If Matthew moves a little more to the right, it'll be more offshore. That would give eastern Florida a stormy night and Friday, but it wouldn't really be the end of the world.
Then the question is how far toward Georgia and South Carolina will Matthew get? By then, Matthew will be starting to weaken because of strong upper level winds, but it will still be a formidable storm.
Matthew is still forecast to take a hard right turn out to sea, but the question is, how close to Georgia and South Carolina will it get before it moves on?
Also, there will be negligible effects, if any up in the Northeast. Which is actually kind of bad. Up here in New England, we were hoping Matthew would stay offshore but throw some heavy rains our way to ease a drought.
Now, only light showers, unrelated to Matthew, are forecast in New England this weekend.
So far, Matthew has killed at least 25 people across the Caribbean, but that toll will rise as reports come in from hard to reach places, especially in Haiti.
The Guardian reports that rescue workers can't get to remote parts of Haiti due to washed out roads and bridges, debris and mudslides. At least 10 people have died in Haiti and no fewer than 3,200 homes were destroyed, but I'm sure we'll get even worse news once rescuers do get to remote corners of the poverty-stricken nation.
Matthew trashed the Cuban coastal city of Baracoa with a terrifying storm surge and hurricane winds. Large parts of that city are now just a jumble of debris.
In the United States, at least two million people have fled coastal locations. About 12 million Americans are under hurricane watches or warnings. Matthew is easily the most disruptive storm since at least Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Here's a video of the destruction in Baracoa, Cuba: