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Major Hurricane Matthew Now Moving North

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  1. Will hit Haiti Monday Night, Cuba Tuesday
  2. Hurricane Warning for SE Bahamas, Tuesday through Thursday
  3. A northwest turn could threaten Atlantic coast of Florida.

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Hurricane Warnings have been issued for the southeast Bahamas, and continue for eastern Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti. You can watch Hurricane Hunter data come in to our Storm Center Live Stream in the story below.


 

The headline to this story might be reused again in the next five or six days.  It might take THAT long for Major Hurricane Matthew to reach its closest point to Florida. For this reason alone, Floridians can't ignore this monster of a storm.

 

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After beginning life as a quick-moving tropical wave, Matthew put on the brakes over the weekend.  Not before briefly reaching Category 5 strength, the third fastest hurricane on record in the Atlantic to do that.

The main reason for the wobbling has been the relatively weak steering flow over the central Caribbean, which is not unusual this time of year. This weak wind shear combined with the unusually warm waters made conditions extremely favorable for development. In under 72 hours, Matthew went from an unnamed open wave to a dangerous Category 5 hurricane.

Internal factors have also contributed to the storm’s erratic movement. Powerful hurricanes typically undergo eye-wall replacement cycles, which change the size and structure of the storm from the inside out and often result in a jumpy center of circulation.

 - This section written by Meteorologist Dan Henry

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Major Hurricane Matthew has already made one move, turning to the northwest. There might three more in the next five or six days. First, the storm is likely to turn to the north and unfortunately hit Haiti hard.

 

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Despite Matthew’s rapid development, models have thus far been in relatively good agreement regarding the storm’s near-term track. Matthew is expected to move to the east of Jamaica on Monday, continuing north over Haiti and Cuba through Tuesday.

If the forecast holds, Matthew would be the strongest storm to hit Haiti since Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

 - This section written by Meteorologist Dan Henry

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Considerable - and unusual - uncertainty exists, though, once the storm tracks north of Cuba. This is especially true as it relates to the potential impacts to Florida's Atlantic coast. Matthew could make two more moves.

 

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Most models show Matthew as a Category 2 or 3 hurricane slamming the Bahamas on Wednesday, and that’s where the forecast grows hazy.

 

 

Two features are likely to impact Matthew’s track once it emerges into the western Atlantic. A stalled upper-level trough over the eastern U.S. has opened the door for Matthew to be pulled pole-ward (north), which is why we've seen the recent turn.  However, high pressure to the east over the central Atlantic is expected to expand north (over the top of Matthew) and force a north-northwesterly track by Tuesday.  The “competing” effects of these features, especially since they are both rather weak, will make the exact path for Matthew uncertain.  

 - This section written in part by Meteorologist Dan Henry

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This is why the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center is for Matthew to slow down by midweek. This is also why hurricane conditions still cannot be ruled out in Florida.

 

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Point number three from the National Hurricane Center...

A message from Governor Rick Scott and Florida Division of Emergency Management Bryan Koon...

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Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
Sources include nearby emergency management agencies, FEMA, and your local NPR affiliate. 
Sources include the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and other nearby traffic information.

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