BOSTON (CBS) – Every little wobble is so crucial when tracking hurricanes, especially those with Category 3 force winds.
The difference between damage and devastation is being measured in a few short miles right now as Hurricane Matthew spins dangerously close to the East Coast of Florida.
A measured wind gust of 107 mph was recorded in Port Canaveral as the western edge of the eye wall brushed the shore earlier Friday morning. As of this writing, more than a half a million customers are without power in the Sunshine State. And Matthew is not done yet.
The storm will continue to parallel the coastline over the next few hours, with tropical storm force gusts extending up to 185 miles from the storm center.
Tropical bands of rain continue to push inland, and isolated, brief spin-up tornadoes will be possible in northeast Florida through the afternoon. Flash flooding will also be possible.
Rain extends into Georgia, South and North Carolina already, and will only pick up in intensity through the day. Matthew will gradually weaken to a CAT 2 Hurricane Friday night as it passes off the coast of southeast Georgia, then eventually a CAT 1 Saturday afternoon near the coast of South Carolina.
After that, Matthew will curve southeast then southwest – and head BACK towards the Bahamas by Tuesday night (as a tropical storm at that point).
Tropical storm watches and warnings could be issued during the start of next week for the Bahamas where they’re still assessing the damage from the past several days.
Parts of Florida could see another round of rain and gusty wind (albeit in much weaker form) through the middle part of next week before the storm finally moves away from the region.