Hurricane Matthew could bring major impacts to the Carolina coast by late week and early this weekend, while our local weather will remain mostly dry. We could see showers from the storm as it approaches on Friday, along with gusty winds.
Matthew is packing winds at 130 mph and is moving slowly northward. As for right now, the storm is moving through the Bahamas, and will linger over those islands though Wednesday night. The storm will likely intensify to a Category 4 storm as it nears the Florida coast late Thursday, then approach the Carolina coast as a Category 2 storm early Saturday morning (per the current NHC forecast track). Right now, it looks like areas from Savannah to Charleston will host the best chance for a near-miss of the eye of the storm, the storm center is expected to be nearly 50 miles offshore. Out to sea, the storm could pack 100 mph wind, sending the coast consistent winds upward of 40-50 mph, and gusts up to hurricane strength (70+ mph). Very heavy rainfall will accompany the wind, totaling anywhere from 5-8".
There are two positive aspects to the storm and the way it will potentially impact NC and SC. First off, it is expected to be weakening as it approaches. When this happens, storms often produce less damage than if they were a strengthening category 2 storm. Also, the state of SC could very well end up on the left side of the track, which brings less tornadoes, wind and rain, but still significant impact.
Those beaches closer to the SC/NC coastlines will still see some strong weather, but the storm will likely begin to pull farther out to sea once it passes Charleston. As it moves farther over open water, the storm winds and rain along the coast will lessen.
Locally we will see gusty winds to 20-30 mph late Friday into Saturday. Scattered showers are possible on the outer edge of the storm, but no significant rainfall is expected for us at this point. That could change if the track moves farther west.
Matthew should be clear off the Carolina coastline by late Saturday night, then head to the northeast as potentially a category 1 storm on Sunday.
The entire region of SC and NC are expected to have dry weather for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, so that should help aid in the cleanup of any flooding or damage that come from the storm.
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