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Hurricane Michael Makes Landfall in Northwest Florida

Powerful Hurricane Michael made landfall in Northwest Florida Wednesday afternoon.  The center of Hurricane Michael officially made landfall between Panama City and Mexico Beach, Florida.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 30.0°N and longitude 85.5°W which put it about 20 miles (30 km) southeast of Panama City, Florida.  Michael was moving toward the north-northeast at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 180 m.p.h. (290 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 919 mb.

Hurricane Michael intensified rapidly right up to landfall on the Gulf Coast.  The minimum surface pressure decreased from 933 mb to 919 mb in the six hours prior to landfall.  With a maximum sustained wind speed of 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h) Hurricane Michael was at the top end of Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  Michael is the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall on that portion of the Gulf Coast and it was one of the most intense hurricanes to make landfall anywhere along the coast of the U.S. during the month of October.

Even though Hurricane Michael is moving inland, a Hurricane Warning remains in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Suwanee River to Chassahowitzka, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the Atlantic Coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Duck, North Carolina including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.  A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida.

Winds to hurricane force extended out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of Hurricane Michael at the time of landfall.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 185 miles (290 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) was 33.3.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 16.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 49.4.  Hurricane Michael will cause regional significant damage.

Tyndall Air Force Base reported a wind gust of 119 m.p.h. (191 km/h).  The Florida State University Panama City Campus reported a wind gust of 116 m.p.h. (187 km/h).   The Panama City Treatment Plant reported a wind gust of 94 m.p.h. (151 km/h).

The coast along the northeastern Gulf of Mexico is very vulnerable to storm surges.  The winds were pushing water toward the coast in the eastern half of the circulation of Hurricane Michael.  Some locations could have a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters).  There have already been reports of damage due to storm surge.

An upper level trough will steer Hurricane Michael toward the northeast.  Michael will weaken as it moves inland, but it will carry hurricane force winds over northeastern Florida, extreme southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.  The center of Hurricane Michael will pass between Dothan, Alabama and Tallahasse, Florida.  it will move toward Albany, Georgia and then pass south of Macon, Georgia.  Michael will move across South Carolina and North Carolina as a tropical storm before exiting the U.S. near Norfolk, Virginia.

Hurricane Michael will cause widespread power outages and numerous outages are already occurring in northwest Florida.  Michael will also produce locally heavy rain and flash floods could occur as it moves inland.  Wind and rain will disrupt efforts in South Carolina and North Carolina to recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence.

One of the most unusual aspects of Hurricane Michael was that it intensified rapidly right up until it made landfall in northwest Florida.  In the past most major hurricanes weakened while they approached the coast along the northern Gulf of Mexico.  Those hurricanes encountered drier air and more vertical wind shear and they weakened.  The Sea Surface Temperatures in the northern Gulf of Mexico is 2°C to 3°C warmer than normal and that may have contributed to the rapid intensification of Hurricane Michael before landfall.  Hurricane Camille in 1969 also intensified right up until it made landfall in Mississippi.  However, Camille occurred in August, while Hurricane Michael occurred in October.

Powerful Hurricane Michael Nearing North Florida

Powerful hurricane Michael was nearing north Florida on Wednesday morning.  Michael intensified rapidly to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale during the overnight hours.  At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 29.0°N and longitude 86.3°W which put it about 90 miles south-southwest of Panama City, Florida.  Michael was moving toward the north at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 145 m.p.h. (230 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 170 m.p.h. (275 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 933 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Alabama-Mississippi border and from Suwanee River to Chassahowitzka, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the Atlantic Coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Surf City, North Carolina.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Mississippi border to the Mouth of the Pearl River and from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Watch was also in effect from Surf City to Duck, North Carolina including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Hurricane Michael intensified rapidly during the past 12 hours.  An eye with a diameter of 20 miles (32 km) is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms.  The strongest winds are occurring in that ring of storms.  Storms near the core of Hurricane Michael are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping large quantities of mass away from the hurricane.  The removal of mass allowed the surface pressure to decrease rapidly to 933 mb.

Winds to hurricane force extend out about 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) from the center of Hurricane Michael.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 185 miles (290 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Michael is 29.9.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 16.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 46.0.  Hurricane Michael is capable of causing regional significant damage.

Hurricane Michael is stronger than any other hurricane to hit north Florida in the historical record.  Michael is similar in intensity to what Hurricane Charley was when Charley hit southwest Florida in 2004.  Hurricane Michael is bigger than Charley was in 2004.

An upper level trough over the Central U.S. and a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean are combining to steer Hurricane Michael toward the north.  The trough will turn Michael toward the northeast when it reaches the coast.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Michael will make landfall near Panama City and Port St. Joe, Florida in about six hours.

Hurricane Michael will bring destructive winds to the coast of north Florida.  The strongest winds will be near the center and east of the center.  Those winds will push water toward the coast and a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) will occur east of where the center of Michael makes landfall.  The coast of the northeast Gulf of Mexico is very vulnerable to storm surges and significant damage will occur.

The center of Hurricane Michael will move between Dothan, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida.  It will pass near Albany, Georgia and then move south of Macon, Georgia.  The center of Michael could move near Columbia, South Carolina and then it could exit the East Coast of the U.S. near Norfolk, Virginia.

Michael will bring hurricane force winds to northeast Florida, extreme southeast Alabama and southern Georgia.  There will be widespread power outages.  Winds to tropical storm force will occur in South Carolina and North Carolina.  Hurricane Michael will drop locally heavy rain when it moves inland.  The wind and rain will disrupt efforts to recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence in South Carolina and North Carolina.

Michael Strengthens to a Major Hurricane

Hurricane Michael strengthened into a major hurricane on Tuesday afternoon.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 26.0°N and longitude 86.4°W which put it about 290 miles (470 km) south of Panama City, Florida.  Michael was moving toward the north at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 140 m.p.h. (225 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 957 mb.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwanee River, Florida.  Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Alabama-Mississippi border, from Suwanee River to Chassahowitzka, Florida and from Fernandina Beach, Florida to South Santee River, South Carolina on the Atlantic Coast.  Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Mississippi border to the Mouth of the Pearl River, from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida and from South Santee, River South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

The inner core of Hurricane Michael tightened on Tuesday afternoon.  The diameter of the eye decreased from 30 miles (50 km) to 22 miles (35 km).  The ring of thunderstorms around the eye tightened around the smaller eye and the strongest winds were closer to the center of circulation.  Storms around the core of Michael were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.  The removal of mass allowed the surface pressure to decrease from 965 mb to 957 mb during the past six hours.

Winds to hurricane force extend out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of Hurricane Michael.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 170 miles (280 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Michael is 22.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 14.6 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 36.7.  Hurricane Michael is capable of causing regional major damage.

Hurricane Michael will move through an environment favorable for intensification for another 12 to 18 hours.  Michael will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level trough over the Central U.S. is producing westerly winds which are blowing toward the top of Hurricane Michael, but those winds are not causing enough vertical wind shear to prevent intensification.  Hurricane Michael could intensify to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale before it makes landfall.

Hurricane Michael is moving between a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean and the upper level trough over the Central U.S.  Those two weather systems are steering Michael toward the north and that general motion is expected to continue for another 12 hours.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Michael will make landfall near Panama City and Port St. Joe, Florida early on Wednesday afternoon.  The upper level trough will steer Michael more toward the northeast after it makes landfall.  The center of Michael is likely to move between Dothan, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida and it could pass near Albany, Georgia.

Hurricane Michael will bring strong winds to northwest Florida, extreme southeast Alabama and southern Georgia.  There will be wind damage and widespread power outages could occur.  The coast of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico is very vulnerable to storm surges.  Hurricane Michael will produce a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) at some points along the coast.  Michael will drop locally heavy rain.  Although Hurricane Michael will weaken when it moves inland, it will bring gusty winds and heavy rain to South Carolina and North Carolina.  Hurricane Michael will hinder efforts in those states to recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence.

Michael Strengthens Into a Hurricane, Watches Issued for Gulf Coast

Former Tropical Storm Michael strengthened into a hurricane on Monday morning and Watches were issued for portions of the Gulf Coast.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 21.2°N and longitude 84.9°W which put it about 50 miles (80 km) south of the western end of Cuba.  Michael was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 982 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Alabama-Mississippi border and from Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island, Florida.  A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Cuban province of Isle of Youth and for the portion of the coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, Mexico.

Hurricane Michael continued to organize quickly.  A circular eye with a diameter of about 30 miles (50 km) was forming at the center of Michael.  A ring of strong thunderstorms was wrapping around the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in the ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were wrapping around the core of Hurricane Michael.  Storms near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.

Winds to hurricane force extended out about 30 miles (50 km) primarily to the northeast of the center of Hurricane Michael.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 175 miles (280 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Michael was 10.4.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 6.8 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 17.2.

Hurricane Michael will move into an environment that will become increasingly favorable for intensification.  Michael will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  An upper level trough over the Gulf of Mexico was producing westerly winds which were blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds were causing some vertical wind shear.  However, the upper level trough will move westward away from Hurricane Michael and the wind shear will decrease.  Hurricane Michael will continue to strengthen when it moves over the Gulf of Mexico and it could intensify rapidly once the eye and eyewall are fully formed.  Hurricane Michael is likely to strengthen into a major hurricane.

Hurricane Michael will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system centered over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Michael in a northerly direction during the next several days.  It will get bigger and stronger during the next 48 hours.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Michael will approach the northeast coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.  It is likely to be a major hurricane at that time.  Hurricane Michael has the potential to cause a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) at the coast.  It will bring strong winds which could cause regional major damage and result in significant power outages.  Locally heavy rain could cause flooding in some locations.

Tropical Storm Michael Strengthens East of Yucatan

Tropical Storm Michael strengthened east of the Yucatan peninsula on Sunday.  At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Michael was located at latitude 19.9°N and longitude 85.4°W which put it about 105 miles (170 km) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico.  Michael was moving toward the north at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth.  A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the portion of the coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, Mexico.

The circulation around Tropical Storm Michael is still organizing and the distribution of thunderstorms is asymmetrical.  Most of the thunderstorms are occurring in bands in the eastern half of the circulation.  A new center of circulation formed on Sunday afternoon near those thunderstorms.  Many of the rainbands in the western half of Tropical Storm Michael contain primarily showers and lower clouds.  One outer rainband in the southwestern periphery of the circulation does contain numerous thunderstorms.  The strongest winds are occurring in the rainbands on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Michael.  The winds are weaker on the western side of the circulation.  Storms on the eastern side of Michael are generating some upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical storm and was allowing the surface pressure to decrease.

An upper level trough over the Gulf of Mexico is producing westerly winds which are blowing across the top of Tropical Storm Michael.  Those winds are causing moderate vertical wind shear which was slowing the rate of intensification, but the shear is not strong enough to prevent Michael from strengthening.  The wind shear is probably the reason for the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.  The upper level trough will move westward during the next few days and the upper level winds will weaken.  Michael will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is warmer than 30°C.  Tropical Storm Michael will strengthen slowly during the next 24 hours.  However, it will intensify more rapidly on Tuesday when the upper level winds weaken.  Michael will strengthen into a hurricane when it moves over the Gulf of Mexico and it could intensify into a major hurricane.

Tropical Storm Michael has been moving slowly while the circulation organizes and the center reforms.  Michael will move around the southwestern part of the subtropical high pressure system over the western North Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Michael in a northward direction during the next two or three days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Michael will pass between the western end of Cuba and the Yucatan peninsula on Monday.  Michael could approach northern Florida by Wednesday.  It will be a hurricane at that time and it could be a major hurricane.  Michael could produce strong winds, a significant storm surge and drop heavy rain when it reaches the coast.

Tropical Storm Maria Brings Gusty Winds, Big Waves to Outer Banks

Tropical Storm Maria brought gusty winds and big waves to the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Tuesday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Maria was located at latitude 34.9°N and longitude 72.9°W which put it about 150 miles (240 km) east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Maria was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 975 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Bogue Inlet, North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Most of the showers and thunderstorms are occurring in the eastern half of the circulation of Tropical Storm Maria.  The strongest winds are also occurring in the eastern half of Maria.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 230 miles (370 km) east of the center of circulation and about 185 miles (295 km) to the west of the center.  A NOAA buoy (41025) at Diamond Shoals was reporting sustained winds to near tropical storm force.  The large size and slow movement of Tropical Storm Maria were causing large waves that were reaching the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Tropical Storm Maria is moving around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Maria slowly toward the north on Wednesday.  An upper level trough approaching the eastern U.S. will start to steer Maria toward the east on Thursday.  The upper level trough will push Tropical Storm Maria away from the U.S. on Friday.  When Maria moves over cooler water it will make a transition to an extratropical cyclone.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, small Hurricane Lee neared major hurricane intensity.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Lee was located at latitude 30.0°N and longitude 55.5°W which put it about 570 miles (920 km) east-southeast of Bermuda.  Lee was moving toward the west at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 971 mb.

Hurricane Lee has a small, well organized circulation.  There is a small eye at the center of circulation.  The eye is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving close to the core of Hurricane Lee.  Winds to hurricane force only extend out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center.

Hurricane Lee could intensify into a major hurricane on Wednesday.  Lee will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  The upper level winds will be weak on Wednesday and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Wind shear will increase later in the week when the upper level trough approaching the eastern U.S. gets closer to Hurricane Lee.

Tropical Storm Maria Spins Up Quickly, Watches Issued for Leeward Islands

Tropical Storm Maria spun up quickly on Saturday and Watches were issued for the Northern Leeward Islands.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Maria was located at latitude 12.3°N and longitude 52.6°W which put it about 620 miles (1000 km) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.  Maria was moving toward the west at 20 m.p.h. (32 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1002 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominca, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The circulation of Tropical Storm Maria organized quickly on Saturday.  A primary rainband wrapped most of the way around the center of circulation.  Thunderstorms in the core of the circulation generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical storm.  Numerous additional bands of showers and thunderstorms developed outside the core of the circulation.

Tropical Storm Maria will move through and environment that will be favorable for intensification.  Maria will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Maria could intensify rapidly during the next day or two.  Maria is likely to become a hurricane on Sunday.  Maria could strengthen into a major hurricane early next week.

The subtropical ridge over the Atlantic Ocean has been steering Tropical Storm Maria quickly toward the west.  The ridge is forecast to weaken slightly during the next several days and Tropical Storm Maria will move more toward the west-northwest.  Maria could reach the northern Leeward Islands within 48 hours.  Maria could be near Puerto Rico in about three days.  Maria will move over some of the same places that were seriously damaged by Hurricane Irma.  Maria could severely impact recovery efforts in that region.

Elsewhere over the tropical Atlantic Hurricane Jose moved slowly toward the north southeast of the U.S. and Tropical Storm Lee formed over the eastern Atlantic Ocean.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 28.9°N and longitude 71.9°W which put it about 485 miles (780 km) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Jose was moving toward the north at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (155 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 973 mb.

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Lee was located at latitude 12.6°N and longitude 34.2°W which put it about 720 miles (1160 km) west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.  Lee was moving toward the west at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.

Hurricane Matthew Causing Serious Flooding in the Carolinas

Hurricane Matthew produced heavy rainfall which led to serious flooding in South Carolina and North Carolina on Saturday.  The total rainfall in some locations exceeded 10 inches (25 cm) in numerous locations in those two states.  Heavy prolonged rain caused creeks and rivers to rapidly rise and flood.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) still classified Hurricane Matthew as a hurricane in its 11:00 p.m. EDT advisory.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on the center of Hurricane Matthew was located at latitude 34.1°N and longitude 76.5°W which put it about 35 miles (55 km) south of Cape Lookout, North Carolina.  Matthew was moving toward the east-northeast at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 982 mb.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Little River Inlet to Surf City, North Carolina.  A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the portion of the coast from Surf City to Duck, North Carolina including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Surf City to Duck, North Carolina including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.

According to NHC the center of Hurricane Matthew made an official landfall near Cape Romain southeast of McClellanville, South Carolina at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday.  Since that time the center of Hurricane Matthew has moved back out over the Atlantic Ocean.  New bands of showers are forming closer to the center south of the coast of North Carolina.  The winds to hurricane force are occurring over a small area on the southwestern side of Hurricane Matthew.

Easterly winds blowing around the north side of Hurricane Matthew converged with northerly winds blowing along a cold front to generate a broad area of rising motion.  The rising motion and the existing rainbands of the hurricane combined to produce very heavy rain over South Carolina and the southeastern half of North Carolina.  The area of heavy rain spread into southeastern Virginia around Norfolk on Saturday night.  The prolonged heavy rainfall caused the water in creeks and rivers to rise very quickly.  Serious flooding was occurring in parts of South Carolina and North Carolina.  Numerous roads were closed because of flooding in those two states.

Along the coast of North Carolina southeasterly winds were blowing water toward the coast and Hurricane Matthew was still generating storm surges.  When Matthew moves east of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the wind will change direction and it will blow from the northwest.  Those northwesterly winds will push water in Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds onto the western sides of the Outer Banks.  Storms surges caused by Hurricane Matthew caused varying amounts of damage from Florida to North Carolina.  The most destructive storm surges appear to have been near Jacksonville Beach, Florida, around the barrier islands of Georgia and South Carolina.  However, a full damage assessment has not been made of those locations at this time.

Even though the center of Hurricane Matthew stayed over the Atlantic Ocean most of the time, gusty winds caused power outages from Florida to North Carolina.  As the heavy rain saturated the ground, gusts of winds toppled trees which fell onto power lines.  More power outages are likely in eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia as more trees are uprooted.

Hurricane Matthew will slowly move out to sea on Sunday.  Matthew appears to be making a transition to an extratropical cyclone.  During that transition the wind field is likely to expand.  So, conditions should improve slowly over North Carolina and Virginia on Sunday.

Hurricane Matthew Bringing Wind and Heavy Rain to the Carolinas

Hurricane Matthew was bringing wind and heavy rain to South Carolina and North Carolina on Saturday morning after causing damage along the coasts of Florida and Georgia on Friday.  At 9:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Matthew was located at latitude 32.6°N and longitude 79.7°W which put it about 30 miles (50 km) southeast of Charleston, South Carolina.  Matthew was moving toward the northeast at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 963 mb.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Altamaha Sound, Georgia to Surf City, North Carolina.  A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the portion of the coast from Surf City to Cape Lookout, North Carolina.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Surf City to Duck, North Carolina.

The center of Hurricane Matthew is moving just south of the coast of South Carolina.  The winds to hurricane force are occurring in a small area over the Atlantic ocean near the center of Matthew.  Wind gusts to near hurricane force were occurring occasionally at the coast.  Beaufort, South Carolina reported a wind gust to 71 m.p.h. (114 km/h).  Earlier on Saturday a pier at Foley Beach, South Carolina reported a wind gust to 76 m.p.h. (122 km/h).  Inland stations in South Carolina and North Carolina were reporting winds in the range of 20 to 50 m.p.h. (30 to 80 km) with occasional higher gusts.

The wind damage caused by Hurricane Matthew is likely to be minor in many locations.  The winds are strong enough to bring down trees and cause widespread power outages.  There are also some stronger thunderstorms in some of the rainbands that are capable of causing more severe local wind damage and could spin up brief tornadoes.  Hurricane Matthew is also producing heavy rain over South Carolina and North Carolina.  The relatively slow movement of Hurricane Matthew could produce prolonged periods of heavy rain and cause fresh water flooding.  In addition, southeasterly winds on the east side of Hurricane Matthew are pushing water toward the shore and are causing storm surges at the coast.

An upper level trough over the eastern U.S. is steering Hurricane Matthew toward the northeast and that general motion will continue to today.  On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Matthew will move very near the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina.  Since about half of the circulation of Hurricane Matthew is over land, friction will cause the hurricane to weaken slowly.

Hurricane Matthew Brings Wind, Rain and Surge to Northeast Florida

Hurricane Matthew brought gusty winds, heavy rain and storm surges to northeast Florida as the center of the hurricane moved northward just east of Florida on Friday.  A weather station on the tip of Cape Canaveral reported a wind gust to 107 m.p.h. (170 km/h) when the western side of the eyewall moved over that location.  Wind gusts to 71 m.p.h. (115 km/h) were reported at Daytona Beach.  A wind gust to 86 m.p.h. (139 km/h) was reported by a C-MAN station in St. Augustine, Florida.  Some wind damage and numerous power outages were reported in conjunction with the strong winds.  Easterly winds pushing water toward the coast were generating storms surges along the coast.

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Matthew was located at latitude 30.2°N and longitude 80.7°W which put it about 40 miles (65 km) east of Jacksonville Beach, Florida and about 135 miles (215 km) south of Savannah, Georgia.  Matthew was moving toward the north at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 948 mb.  Hurricane Matthew was a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from the Flagler/Volusia County line in Florida to Surf City, North Carolina.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Surf City to Duck, North Carolina including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.  A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the portion of the coast from the Brevard/Volusia County lie to the Volusia/Flagler County line in Florida.

The eye and the core of Hurricane Matthew remained over the Atlantic Ocean as Matthew moved parallel to the east coast of Florida.  Occasionally, the western side of the eyewall would move over the coast and bring stronger winds to those areas.  The remnants of the smaller inner eyewall dissipated during the afternoon.  Once the eyewall cycle was completed the remaining outer eyewall began to contract.  Thunderstorms around the eye generated enough upper level divergence to pump out mass and limited the increase of the surface pressure.  As a result, a strong pressure gradient force is still producing winds of over 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) in the north and northeastern parts of the eyewall.

Hurricane Matthew has been moving around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system which steered the hurricane toward the north on Friday.  An upper level trough over the Central U.S. will move east and southwesterly winds with the trough will start to steer Matthew toward the northeast later tonight.  It is not clear exactly when the turn will occur and the exact timing of the turn to the northeast is very important.  If Hurricane Matthew continues to move north, the northern eyewall which contains the strongest winds could reach Savannah and the coast of South Carolina in 6-10 hours.  If those winds reach the coast, then the damage will be more severe.  If Hurricane Matthew turns northeast before the northern eyewall reaches the coast, then the damage will be less.

Even though Hurricane Matthew weakened slightly to a Category 2 hurricane and is no longer officially a major hurricane, it is still capable of causing regional serious damage.  Matthew will cause wind damage and widespread power outages along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, even if the center of the eye does not officially make landfall.  If the center of the eye brings the northern eyewall over the coast, the winds will be much stronger and the damage will be greater.  In addition, easterly winds on the northern side of Hurricane Matthew will drive water toward the coast and create serious storm surges.  In places where the shape of the coast funnels water into smaller areas, the surges will be even more dangerous.