Category Four Hurricane Matthew Expected to Cause Widespread Devastation From Florida to North Carolina

Posted on October 6, 2016

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Hurricane Matthew is currently a category four storm. It is expected to have a potentially catastrophic impact along the coasts of eastern Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Damage will be from storm surge, extremely high winds, huge waves and inland flooding.

Hurricane Matthew is expected make landfall later tonight in Florida around the West Palm Beach area. It will then travel north along the coast. The coastal runner will cause massive damage as it hugs the coastline bringing its winds of 140 mph to cities along the east Florida coast from the West Palm Beach area to Jacksonville. West Palm Beach may be sparred the worst winds if Matthew comes in just north of the region but much of the east Florida coastline will be severely impacted.

Hurricane Matthew is forecast to weaken slightly when it reaches Georgia and the Carolina on Saturday but cities along the coast of these states (particularly Georgia and SC) will still experience a huge storm surge and winds over 100 mph. The path for Matthew beyond SC is less clear as some computer models show it looping back to Florida in a weakened state while a recent GFS computer model has it traveling more north along the coast of North Carolina.

There have been mass evacuations along the coast. Florida Governor Rick Scott has warned 1.5 million people in the state's evacuation zones, "This is serious. ... If you need to evacuate and you haven't, evacuate. This storm will kill you. Time is running out. We don't have that much time left." Evacuations are just as critical to saving lives in coastal areas in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. For example, all areas east of Interstate 95 in Georgia's coastal counties are under a mandatory evacuation order.

The full impact of Hurricane Matthew will not be known until it has past but the aftermath could be a scenario where millions are left homeless. At a minimum it is expected that there will be millions of people without power for days, weeks or even months. The extent of the damage in Florida will depend on how far inland Matthew travels (and where it moves inland) as it moves north paralleling the coast. There are already early estimates that Matthew could be a $200 billion storm. CNBC reports cites CoreLogic that "nearly 954,000 are at risk of major storm surge damage."

Local advisories for cities expected to be impacted by Hurricane Matthew can be found here on the National Hurricane Center's website. They include dire warnings about locations possibly being uninhabitable for weeks or moths and widespread power and communications outages.

The Weather Channel's Sr. Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross issued the following message for those in the path of Hurricane Matthew. He says the incoming hurricane is "like no storm in the record books." He also warns those people deciding to stay in evacuation zones to leave immediately. Your life depends on it.



Photo: NOAA

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