Forecasters are saying it is too early to say what impact Hurricane Matthew will have on Coastal Georgia. But, they say, it could be severe.
The storm made landfall on Haiti this morning and is packing sustained winds of 145 mph. At 8 a.m. it was 125 miles south of the eastern tip of Cuba (latitude 18.4 North, longitude 74.2 West), moving just east of north at 9 mph.
If it remains on the expected track it will be off central Florida early Friday and about parallel with Liberty/Bryan County at 2 a.m. Saturday.
In a discussion posted on its website this morning, the National Hurricane Center said a direct impact on Florida is possible later in the week. Storm and hurricane watches are likely for that state’s east coast later today.
“Tropical storm or hurricane conditions could affect portions of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina later this week or this weekend, even if the center of Matthew remains offshore,” the discussion said. “At a minimum, very dangerous beach and boating conditions are likely along much of the U.S. East Coast later this week and weekend.
The center’s forecast says the storm is veering a little northeast, but predicts the category 4 storm will be steered northwest toward the Southeast United States by a front building north of it. Another front coming in may them push it more to the east.
“Between days 3 and 4, Matthew should round the western periphery of the ridge and turn northward, then north-northeastward ahead of a trough approaching the east coast of the United States late in the period. Most of the dynamical models show a track near the east coast of Florida and the Southeast United States from days 3 through 5,” the discussion reads.
It goes on to warn, however, to not focus on the exact forecast track since strong winds, heavy rain and dangerous surges can extend hundreds of miles from the center of the storm.