Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Matthew Makes Landfall In Haiti; Worst Case Scenario Unfolding

Deadly Hurricane Matthew over Haiti Monday morning
as seen in this visible satellite image.  
Hurricane Matthew made landfall this morning as a Category 4 storm packing winds of 145 mph near the southwestern Haitian city of Les Anglais.

It was the second strongest hurricane to hit Haiti in history.

As you can imagine, early reports are sketchy, but there is sure to be massive amounts of casualties as massive Matthew slowly roars past Haiti.

A couple videos emerging from Haiti Monday morning as the eye hit showed incredible winds sending disintegrating trees and sending debris flying.

Many hours before Matthew arrived in Haiti, things had gotten bad Monday. Severe coastal flooding, and inland flooding was occuring 12 hours before the eye of the storm made landfall.

Reuters reported a man was killed in the seaside town of Port Salut when a wave crashed through his house. The guy was too sick to evacuate, so he was forced to stay.

Inside Hurricane Matthew's eyewall in Haiti. Extreme
winds are causing major damage, but the flooding
will be even worse.  
Rainfall, which is the biggest danger in Haiti from Matthew, was already extreme on Monday.

In neighboring Dominican Republic, a town on the south coast received 22.91 inches of rain within 13 hours on Monday, including 5.33 inches in just one hour.

The National Hurricane Center is still saying Haiti could receive up to 40 inches of rain from Matthew.    

Marshall Shepherd (you might know him from the Weather Channel show "Weather Geeks" pointed out that historically, Haiti has it the worst with hurricane deaths.

He published a chart on Twitter that showed historic hurricanes like Hazel in 1954 Flora in 1963, Gordon in 1994 and Jeanne in 2004 each killed thousands of people in Haiti, while deaths from those same storms in other nations totaled in the dozens at most.

From here, Matthew will hit eastern Cuba and the Bahamas. Because of land interaction with Haiti, Matthew will weaken slightly this morning, but could restrengthen over the warm waters surrounding the Bahamas

The Bahamas are in for a HUGE blow. It will be devastating there as well.

More than 12 hours before Matthew hit Haiti,
there was already storm surge flooding
going on.  
Forecast tracks for Matthew have shifted west toward the southeastern United States coasts. Matthew is now expected to skirt very close to the east coast of Florida and hurricane watches are likely to be hoisted there any time now.

States of emergency are out for Florida and North Carolina to help those areas get ready for Matthew's impacts. Florida would be most affected by Matthew Friday and it would reach North Carolina by early Sunday.

It's too soon to say how heavy a blow Matthew will inflict on places like Florida and North Carolina. It depends on its strength and exact track, and we don't know exactly how things will work out.

There's a decent chance Matthew could make landfall in Florida, which of course would be terrible in that heavily populated region of the nation.

If Matthew makes landfall as a major hurricane in Florida, it would be the first time a hurricane that strong has hit the United States in at least a decade. A major hurricane has sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

Complicating things more is how Matthew will interact with a fairly weak tropical storm expected to form well northeast of Matthew out in the open Atlantic.

It's also too soon to figure out what Matthew will do, if anything beyond North Carolina. In New England, the hope is it will stay far enough offshore to limit strong winds but close enough to dump heavy rain on the region, which is experiencing a drought.

That seems to be the expected track of Matthew now, but things could easily change dramatically. Stay tuned.

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