Latest models show track for east coast of Florida, strengthening of Matthew is possible as of today, it has been 4000 days since a major hurricane has made landfall on the United States, a record that could end tomorrow at 4001 days.
Hurricane expert Dr. Ryan Maue seems to think that Matthew could get even stronger:
And he’s right. While Matthew may skirt the coast, there’s a lot of warm water in the Gulf Stream offshore to fuel the heat engine of the beast. Prior to the area being obscured by clouds forging ahead of Matthew, this image from the Rutgers Lab showed 85 to 87°F water just off the east Florida coast.
From NASA Goddard: Satellites continue to provide forecasters and scientists valuable data on the development and changes in Hurricane Matthew as it moves through the Bahamas and toward the Florida coast. NASA and NOAA satellites have provided visible, infrared and microwave data that enable forecasters to analyze the storm. The National Hurricane Center noted that Matthew is forecast to be a category 4 hurricane as it approaches the east coast of Florida.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect from north of Altamaha Sound to South Santee River South Carolina. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Chokoloskee to Golden Beach, Florida; for the Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge Eastward and Florida Bay. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from north Of Chokoloskee to Suwannee River.
At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located near 24.6 degrees north latitude and 77.5 degrees west longitude. That’s about 30 miles (45 km) south-southwest of Nassau, Bahamas and 215 miles (350 km) southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Matthew is moving toward the northwest near 12 mph (19 kph), and this general motion is expected to continue today, Oct. 6. A turn toward the north-northwest is expected tonight. On the forecast track, the eye of Matthew should pass near Andros Island and New Providence in the northwestern Bahamas during the next few hours, pass near Grand Bahama Island late today, and move very close to the east coast of the Florida peninsula tonight through Friday night, Oct. 7.
NHC said that reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds remain near 125 mph (205 kph) with higher gusts. Matthew is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional strengthening is expected today, and Matthew is forecast to be a category 4 hurricane as it approaches the east coast of Florida.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 km). Nassau in the Bahamas recently reported sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph) with a wind gust of 61 mph (98 km/h).
The latest minimum central pressure estimated by a reconnaissance aircraft was 940 millibars.