Latest forecast track shows hurricane #Matthew grazing Florida East Coast

I’ve been watching this awhile, as have many others, and now it looks like we might have some real trouble. Matthew looks to be strengthening – see the satellite loop below.


Besides winds, huge amounts of rain and storm surge will accompany this storm.

Hurricane expert Dr. Ryan Maue says of the animation above:

Pressure at 934 mb in Hurricane Matthew. Improved satellite representation, expansion of cold cloud-tops suggests slightly stronger

He also opines on this series of forecast maps that show Matthew grazing the east coast of Florida:

Margin of error is small as Hurricane Matthew likely will parallel Florida east coast — hopefully well offshore. GFS 18z is too close.

gfs-mathew-fl-eastcoast-track gfs-mathew-fl-eastcoast-wind gfs-precip-matthew-fl-ec

110 thoughts on “Latest forecast track shows hurricane #Matthew grazing Florida East Coast

  1. The story was that a high out in the Atlantic is keeping Matthew on this course. A system moving in from the west could move Matthew east but it won’t be here in time.
    Is that right?

  2. While not mentioned in the advisories, the high wind field is pretty small. So if the center remains offshore, the coast might only see TS force winds.

      • Eyewall replacement cycles are frequent, especially in big storms. I think as the eye wall shrinks and accelerates, eventually the pressure gradient rises away from the eyewall and a new eyewall forms. That starves the old eyewall which weakens and gets sucked up by the new eyewall.
        The result is a larger eye and a reduction in wind speed, but the new eye shrinks and speeds up, setting things up for another cycle if the storm remains strong enough.

    • Roy, that’s a good point. The GFS does not show the inner core wind field expanding very much by the time it reaches the east side of Florida, unlike many hurricanes that expand greatly when reaching middle latitudes. Also, the highest winds are usually to the right of the track, which in this case would be to the east of the eye and that is also what is shown on the GFS. However, as of this writing, the latest Oct 3 18Z GFS track is very close to the east coast of Florida and only a small error of about 50 miles farther west than forecast would make a HUGE difference in the storm effects.

      • oz4caster
        Correct but a little more explanation; the ground speed winds are generally faster where you get to add the wind field to the storm motion and slowed on the opposite side.
        I have no idea if it’s effective or not but I eyeball the model paths and then look to the historic tracks as kind of a confidence measure. I’m not sure why but the historics sometime show fairly consistent patterns. Well right now the category 3/4 within 2 degree tracks all over the place so no help there.
        Tangential, but it’s time for my yearly weather underground rant with a twist. I still think Jeff Masters understands the modeling and the storms better than anyone that I’ve seen (in a free service). But I never go there until tropical storms because 5 or so years ago the site was rabidly CAGW. Today I quickly searched the blog for the usual suspects global warming, climate change, unprecedented.. with no hits. I also thought I remembered a climate change tab/faq on the site which (again rapidly) did not find. Anyone follow this closer than me? Makes me wonder if the cagw is getting lower cased and swept under the rug? encouraging?

      • taz1999, I still see plenty of “featured” CAGW blog posts on the Weather Underground. I ignore them.
        Increasing southwesterly wind shear and circulation over land could also be a factors in reducing wind speeds on the west side of Matthew if it stays offshore to the east of Florida.

    • GFS has been the farthest east of the models. The UKMET and ECMWF models have had it hugging the coast and impacting between Charleston and Myrtle Beach Saturday to Sunday timeframe.
      I am hoping for it to stay off just far enough to prevent surge and wind damage, but give some heavy rainfall for Florida and Georgia – it has been a dry fall so far. It can bend east after that if it wants to, I don’t wish a direct strike on anyone.

      • In Brevard we’re soaked already and prime for flooding. I lived in Miami through Andrew. I’m hoping I can boogie Thursday. We’ll see

  3. I hope Roy Spencer is correct. The media seem to be talking it up as a Category 4 storm. Did it hit Haiti at that level? I know they have a habit of not telling you the good news so I hope it did not.

  4. The thing is this storm is moving so slowly and the potential steering weather patterns to the north are so complex I really doubt even the European can accurately forecast the track so many days into the future. But the whole eastern seaboard from southern Florida all the way up is certainly in play. With it moving so slowly it sure looks like it will a particularly nasty storm for any land mass it passes over. At this time if I had to bet, the last place I would want to be come Sunday morning would be Cape Hatteras.

    • One of those models has the eye just barely skipping over into the Gulf and then heading up to Tampa…so maybe that is in play, too!

      • Some particularly nasty possibilities with this storm.
        If it maintains major hurricane status and rides a path just along the coast all the way from Miami to the Carolinas, it could prove to be the most costly storm in the history of the world, wrecking homes and buildings and disrupting commerce in dozens of cities, including a bunch of very large ones.
        I sure hope the scenario in the tidbits video that he describes around the 6:30 mark does not come to pass.

  5. Maybe I’m out of date, I haven’t been able to follow events as I normally do, but, isn’t Mathew expected to weaken, to around CAT2, once it gets North of Cuba and Hispaniola?

    • Expect the mountains to knock it down a bit but if the forecast of the guys at Weatherbell is correct Matthew will strengthen to a Major once again once it gets north of the Bahamas.

    • The NHC estimates winds speeds using aircraft. There was a NDBC discus buoy that recorded surface sustained winds at 67 knots maximum. Category 1 hurricane threshold is 64 knots. Mathew was barely a category 1 hurricane when it passed directly over buoy number 42058. The NHC has been doing this for years, making wind speed claims greatly in excess of actual recorded surface winds.

      • bw wrote, “The NHC estimates winds speeds using aircraft.”
        Yes they do and they work hard to do so accurately. Here is the latest …
        Shortly after the release of the previous advisory, the Air
        Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft measured a peak 700-mb
        flight level wind of 142 kt, and SFMR winds of 127 kt in the
        northeast quadrant. During the final passage through the eye a
        little before 0500 UTC, the aircraft reported a minimum pressure of
        934 mb. These data still support an initial intensity of 125 kt.
        For some interesting information on how this is done …

  6. Been Tracking Mattew every 4 hours since days. Two reasons. 1. Father was a Pacific Typhoon hunter, 409th off Guam, flying instrumented B29s into those things back then. Worst trip was so violent over 24 hours that the plane landed with his rudder bent 17 degrees out of true, and so was scrapped. Plus, I survived a SS 5 Guam hit. So much for dinner table conversations.
    2.Live now on Fort Lauderdale beach about 50 meters from Atlantic ocean and potential storm surge. Go Bag is ready. But we probably will not go. Last hit was Cat 3 Wilma, dirty side, 2005, and we survived nicely. Stupid to get on exposed highway versus hardened Cat 5 new construction. Only 4 days of Wilma power down except for building emergency gensets. ( It did take 18 months to repair our pool deck.) We have 7 days rations and bottled water in the go bag plus multilple gallon collapsed storage containers, fillable in 15 minutes, for flushing toilets. Not to mention the guest room sealable (ducktape) bathtub. Woild not rely on our 4WD Hybrid SUV to escape via roads. The problem is not us, it is everybody else.
    Boy Scouts are always prepared.

    • Keep a weapon, or two, close to hand… Just incase some folks forget how to act in a civilized manner during an emergency.

    • I was in the hurricane hunters back when they were at Keesler AFB flying WC-130E/H airframes (53WRS). I got to sit on the ground and fix whatever they broke going through the eye-wall when they got back. There were occasional pieces missing, but they usually came through well. Those planes were always better during hurricane season because we were flying them every day. When they would sit for a few days was when they would suddenly break everything on board. Every year we sent a team out to the west Pac to fly the typhoons out of Guam. Shortly after I left Keesler, the AF turned it all over to the Air Force Reserve (403 WRS) to handle and moved it all out of Biloxi.

      • This former SF soldier can’t count the times his own precious ass was given to the hold of a C-130. Flew in B through H models. 55 jumps from C-130s, both doors and ramp. The Herc gets my vote.

    • ristvan, I am a little North of you in Merritt Island. Getting ready to put up the shutters and set up the safe room. will probably stay, but if it is a cat-3 or more, coming off the ocean, going to St. Cloud.
      Glad I sold my house in Cocoa Beach last month.
      Keep your head down.

    • Rud,
      Leave too late, and You’ll spend the night on the I-95 parking lot with 100,000 new friends.

    • Light-hearted but somewhat serious question. My son is supposed to fly down to Fort Meyers on Wednesday afternoon for a baseball tournament. Been through several hurricanes and near-misses in SE VA and I’m not too worried about severe conditions on the west coast, mostly wind and rain. any thoughts on what the weather in FM is projected to be on Thursday-Friday-Saturday?
      Thanks if you see this and respond.

      • Menicholas,
        Thanks, being several hundred miles away, that’s kind of what I thought. would suck, though, to send the kid to FLA for a few days so he could watch it rain. I did that in my back yard a couple weeks ago.

    • I was in a Pacific Typhoon aboard ship, DLGN-25, in ’66. My bunk was forward and Would rise/fall 3 or 4 ft every few seconds. My Dad’s ship AOG27 was destroyed (beached) in a typhoon in WW2.
      Fun stuff – if you live through it. I had my sea legs and was eating hearty from the open mess while most of the rest of the crew was throwing up. The mess was open (bread cheese, cold cuts) because people might get hungry at other than meal times.
      BTW for me the first 3 days at sea was queasy stomach time. After that I was good for most anything.

  7. Well we can hope for the best for those in the path 140 doesn’t sound nice to me.
    But I go by the rule: Two clocks are not better than one clock.
    Obviously one of the two is wrong but now you know it is wrong, but you don’t know which one is wrong.
    So what is with the cat-o-nine tails path predictions ? Maybe just people filing their report in expectation of a new grant extension.

    • Models, each with different assumptions. NHC usually take the ‘best fit’ and maybe edge it one way or the other depending on their assumptions.

    • No, it’s people taking advantage of all the information available to them. In general, when most models agree, they have a pretty good idea of what is about to happen (and sometimes all the models are wrong). When the models don’t agree, then a good forecast is nigh on impossible. Good forecasts don’t include lucky forecasts.
      And all the models are wrong, but some are more useful than others. If you don’t like the spaghetti plots, just use the NHC’s forecast and discussion. It’s usually fairly close to the models’ consensus, but they explain why they favor some models over others.

  8. Great comments, especially Dr. Spencer. Here on the grand strand we are preparing for the worst. That means evacuation or just no golf Saturday. The latter is the best we can hope for.

  9. The precipitable water looks weak. 3.5 inches is nothing for FL. Am I reading it wrong?

  10. I find it difficult to doubt Ryan Maue and Joe Bastardi; but usually cat 4 storms are well organized with strong outflows.
    Matthew looks unbalanced and has not been outflowing well to the west.
    Of course, losing the higher resolution GOES satellite and using a lower resolution GOES satellite without moving the satellite to a better position; does make the storm less detailed.
    Nor would it be the first storm over the last few years that the Hurricane center insists has lower pressure than is obvious.
    Oscillating eyewalls, stunted outflow to the west, fluctuating eye; looks more like a cat 3 storm having difficulty maintaining wind speeds.
    I go with Joe Bastardi’s earlier prediction that the storm will strengthen once it is over the Bahamas.

    • The reason for that is the stroms NW quadrant has been up against a dry air mass. That is changing though.

      • Not that dry the last couple of days, counting today.
        Whatever, the storm isn’t breathing well to the West.
        With the outer winds already interacting with Jamaica, the combination is causing the storm to careen somewhat.
        Matthew slapping Guantanamo around before moving over the Bahamas then gaining strength, as Bastardi predicted; let us hope that a cat 4-5 storm doesn’t hit the Key’s or Florida for that matter.
        I was living in New Orleans when Andrew leveled a path from East to West across Florida; then watched as Andrew decided to come visit us in New Orleans.
        Bob Breck, the weather forecaster in New Orleans nailed the path when he predicted Andrew was going to hit to our West.
        Not as powerful as when Andrew visited Florida, it was still a dangerous storm, but small with limited eyewall reach.

      • The storm action has gradually hydrated that quadrant but it has had an impact on the storm for most of it’s life as a hurricane. Levi believes that now it’s going through an “eye wall replacement”.

    • Of course, losing the higher resolution GOES satellite and using a lower resolution GOES satellite without moving the satellite to a better position; does make the storm less detailed.

      What in the world are you talking about? GOES-13 is about as exactly ‘over it’ as you can get for a geostationary satellite.

      • You are correct JKrob. The image went out a couple of nights ago, while I was watching the Caribbean.
        There was an outage mentioned in a twitter feed, so I went and searched on GOES outages.
        Then I wrongly assumed the GOES 13 outage message I read was current.
        After reading your comment, I double checked the satellite messages an discovered I was reading an old message (May, I believe).
        My apologies for the incorrect assumption and statements.
        GOES-13 did undergo some minor changes in programming, but not an outage.
        See, Alarmers! Assumptions are not good science!

  11. After hitting Haiti and Cuba, I think it will downgrade to a cat 2. But it could strengthen after the Bahamas. I don’t think the eye will cross the US coast. It will dance up the US coastline, but the outer banks could see hurricane force winds. These storms (from past experience) tend to stay just off the Atlantic coast…I hope.
    Just from tracking these storms since the mid 50’s…

    • Past experience? It had been so long since a bad east coast storm that a noted “hurricane expert” of the 1930’s stated “hurricanes never hit New England unless greatly weakened,” right up until the day the 1938 monster completely changed our landscape. It was accelerating north so fast (50 mph) that the core passed through many areas in only an hour, but many of the big trees on Main Streets were leveled. Ocean surge was unreal, and Connecticut River reached record levels. Carol was only a minor version, in 1954. Since then, nothing comparable….few are old enough to remember… of course, if it happens, Bill McKibben will call it “unprecedented.”

  12. Global Human Climate Sharknado Apocalypse at its best.
    Next we might see M. Mann in a video from his office at PSU recorded on a GoPro held by J. Cook.
    Mann, “We are experiencing a Zuminsky Z-10 Planet Killer Event! [John shakes the GoPro for effect.]
    Mann, “We will continue recording data as best we can.” [John tilts the GoPro left 90-degrees then cuts the feed.]
    Ha ha

    • Every rise of 1C increases the ocean area that could spawn tropical cyclones by 15%. I guess I should add that any decrease reduces the area too.

      • clipe,
        I think he just said a 5° increase will induce tropical cyclones in the center of Antarctica, or something. Either it doesn’t make sense or I’ve had too much wine.

    • bw
      Matthew has had a very compact eye and hurricane force wind field. I truly believe that Matthew is a monster.
      Having said that, I agree that NOAA and the NHC have been overstating hurricane strength. I monitored Hermine as it approached the Florida coast through landfall and never saw a single buoy or land station which recorded anything close to the 74 mph wind speed sustained for 1 minute as is supposedly required for a storm to be classified a hurricane. And yet to this day they still say it was a CAT I when it came ashore. They have apparently also grossly overstated the power of several typhoons over the last couple of years also.
      Is this a result of the ever advancing ability to see into the storms better? Or is it bias? I believe the former is enhancing their ability to have the later.

      • From the National Hurricane Center …
        500 AM EDT MON OCT 03 2016
        The Air Force Reserve reconnaissance mission that ended shortly
        before 0600 UTC did not find flight-level or surface winds as high
        as reported during the previous flight yesterday afternoon. It is
        not clear from microwave imagery if the reduction in winds is the
        result of an eyewall replacement. There was no evidence of a double
        wind maximum in the aircraft data, but the crew reported that the
        eyewall was open to the southwest. Using a blend of the aircraft
        data and recent satellite intensity estimates, the initial intensity
        has been reduced to 115 kt for this advisory. The center of Matthew
        has recently passed over NOAA buoy 42058 in the central Caribbean
        Sea, which reported a minimum pressure of 943 mb and light winds
        around 0650 UTC.
        It’s complicated. Eyewall Module. While executing a standard alpha pattern to satisfy a fix requirement, one sounding will be taken during each inbound and outbound passage through the eyewall (except as noted below), for a total of four soundings. The releases should be made at or just inward (within 12 km) of the flight-level radius of maximum wind (RMW). If the radar presentation is suitable, the inner edge of the radar eyewall may be used to identify the release point. If possible, and when resources and safety permit, two dropwindsondes, spaced less than 30 seconds apart, should be deployed on the inbound leg on the side of the storm believed to have the highest surface winds (normally the right-hand side). In this case, the outer of the two releases should be made at the RMW, with the second release following as soon as possible. Typically, the eyewall module will be tasked within 48 hours of a forecasted hurricane landfall.

      • The Saffir-Simpson scale was created to define how much ground damage can be expected from defined sustained winds measured at 10 meters above the ground. How those winds should be measured is defined by the creators of the scale. It’s simple, you have the measure the wind speed at 10 meters above the ground to say how much damage occurs to structures located on the ground. Mechanical anemometers are the only consistently reliable instruments to determine those speeds, which is why they are used today. A hurricane is defined in the US as sustained surface winds at for one minute. Some agencies use a 10 minute average. If the anemometer is recording 64 knot wind speed for one minute, then you have a category one storm for that minute.
        The anemometer for NOAA buoy 42058 recorded winds at 5 meters height, so there may be higher winds at 10 meters, but there is no indication of any problem with that instrument.
        Aircraft do not use anemometers, they make wind estimates using entirely different instruments. If the aircraft estimate of ground winds say 125 knots when the surface anemometer says 65 knots then the aircraft estimate needs to be examined as to why it does not agree with the surface measurement.
        Over the past several years at least, the “official” NHC claims for winds in storms have been 10 to 20 knots higher than actual winds measured at the surface. Observed surface damage due to winds after the storm passes always confirm the recorded surface anemometers, and not the aircraft based estimates. Mathew is the first storm I’ve seen where the aircraft estimate was 60 knots higher than the surface anemometer.

    • I think that Mr. Mann needs to be right out on the western tip of Haiti standing on the shore reporting on this hurricane.

  13. Mathew moved directly over NDBC station 42058 earlier October 3rd. Recorded sustained winds reached 34.5 meters per second on the approach. That’s barely Hurricane force, about 67 knots. Then about one hour of eye, then the trailing side of the storm reached 33.6 meters per second. This while the NHC was claiming 145 mph winds, which is 126 knots. Hurricane wind threshold is 33 meters per second or 64 knots.
    Wind speeds recorded by the buoy are at
    Mathew is barely a Category 1. The NHC has been hyping tropical cyclone winds for years.

  14. On the other side of the world, CHABA, a category 5 is heading to Japan and South Korea:
    “Chaba has just been upgraded to the equivalent of a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane. It is packing winds of 270 kilometres per hour with gusts nearer 325km/h.
    Further strengthening is likely within the next 12 hours. Sustained winds of 280km/h and gusts approaching 335km/h are possible.
    The centre of Typhoon Chaba is currently forecast to move into the Korea Strait around 18:00 GMT on Tuesday. Damaging winds and flooding rains are expected to affect western Kyushu throughout much of the day ahead.
    There has been flooding across South Korea and southern Japan recently. This has been caused by the passage of three typhoons in the past two weeks.”

  15. No matter what it looks like my golf vacation in Pinehurst area will be wet. We’ll be playing a ;lot of cards in the hotel lobby.

  16. “…… hurricane Matthew grazing Florida East Coast”
    Many years ago as a young man I was touring USA on the Greyhound buses. It was late September, got off in Jacksonville, Florida in mid afternoon, put my stuff in the locker and went to explore the town. Strong winds, bits flying of the roofs, traffic lights swaying lake crazy, no rain, all shops closed, no one around the place, I was only one on the street.
    I concluded this must be the most weird place in whole of America and after about half an hour I had enough, got back to the grubby Greyhound waiting room, with some highly non pc signs on the toilet (wash-room) doors. After few hours of sitting next to a coin-slot tv, the bus turned up very late, someone mention that a hurricane is expected.

  17. Here is my spaghetti chart of the historical Hurricane tracks that passed between Haiti and Cuba within 2 weeks of Oct 3.
    1964-Hazel is closest to the current course NNE, and it follows closely the NHC’s current predicted track. It made landfall on the border between North Carolina and South Carolina at 110 mph on Oct. 15.
    1963-Flora was further south-east and moving NW. It stalled over Cuba, then moved NE.
    1959 Gracie that doesn’t apply. It was just a tropical storm that grew north of Haiti.

  18. Right now it seems that Matthew is tracking a little further east than the models projected. Eye is going to hit a little wider land mass with higher mountains in western Haiti. Unfortunately for the next couple of day I will be running from points in Ohio, to the Buffalo, NY area and then down to Hebron, KY just south of Cincinnati picking up and delivering parts for new Toyota automobiles and will only be able to monitor via my smart phone or tablet when WiFi is available. Sure wish I could be here at home monitoring and discussing this storm instead.

  19. The eye is making landfall in Haiti now (9 AM EDT). Last USAF pass through eye off shore had 120 kt maximum winds at flight level and 90 kt observed by the SFMR (apporx. surface wind). The center is moving more NE than forecast, so it will run over Haiti’s southern mountains. This should knock it down a bit, but there’s many a slip between the cup and the lip.

  20. The Air Force SFMR measured 110 kt on its outbound leg, so max surface winds are higher than 90 kt.

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