BOSTON (CBS) — The entire east coast is on alert as Hurricane Matthew, a powerful Category 4 storm, churns its way through the Caribbean. Life threatening storm surge, devastating flash flooding and subsequent mud slides along with catastrophic wind damage will rip through Haiti, Jamaica, and eastern Cuba through tomorrow. By midweek, Matthew will still be a major category 3 hurricane, setting its eye on the Bahamas and the west side of the Turks and Caicos.
After that, Matthew will continue to gradually weaken to a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale as it sits several hundred miles off the coast of southeast Georgia and South Carolina. From there, uncertainty in the track and intensity of Matthew increases…which leaves us here in New England in a “watch & wait” phase. Waiting essentially to see what the impact could be here in the Northeast, and the entire east coast for that matter.
The best case scenario I see would be that Matthew gets picked up by a dip in the jetstream and takes a northeastwardly track out to sea, well southeast of Nantucket. Even if this happens, dangerous surf and rip currents would be possible up and down the eastern seaboard.
A little refresher on the jetstream by the way…it’s kind of like a fast river of air high in the sky that helps to guide storm track. If the jetstream disturbance takes just a bit longer to slide east, then Matthew could be steered closer to the coast. It’s all about the timing.
While there are still several scenarios that could play out with Matthew, the key take away is that you should monitor the forecast closely over the next several days, as guidance should come into better agreement once Matthew exits the Bahamas. Matthew is a very slow mover and for us in the Northeast that is a good thing. There still remains plenty of time to pin point down the forecast and start preparations should we be adversely affected. Right now it appears the earliest we would have to deal with Matthew would be this coming weekend.
As always we urge you stay tuned to forecasts on WBZ-TV and CBSBoston.com.