Hurricane Matthew Becomes Category 5 (10 pm / Fri, Sep 30, 2016)

Defying all model guidance, Hurricane Matthew has continued to strengthen this evening and has become a category 5 storm.  This is the first category 5 in the Atlantic basin in almost 10 years.  Hurricane Felix became a cat 5 storm in 2007.

Matthew now has maximum sustained winds of 160 mph with a minimum central pressure of 941 mb.  While the intensity guidance has been less than stellar, the forecast track has remained consistent with little change in the official forecast.  Matthew will likely be a major hurricane when it approaches the eastern part of Jamaica on Monday.

Hurricane Matthew Rapidly Strengthens (4 pm / Fri Sep 30, 2016)

Hurricane Matthew has rapidly intensified today reaching category 4 strength.  The storm is located about 465 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica and is moving to the west southwest at 9 mph.  Maximum sustained winds are now near 140 mph.  The central pressure has fallen to 949 mb – which is an astounding 44 mb drop over the last 24 hours.

There have been no significant changes regarding the previously discussed forecast track, but the storm is obviously much stronger than anticipated.  A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Jamaica, and it appears that the powerful hurricane will be near the eastern tip of the island by Monday afternoon.

Severe Thunderstorm Chances / Hurricane Matthew

Published: 9 AM – Friday – September 30, 2016

The weather should become much more interesting during the first week of October.

… Severe Thunderstorm Risk for Tuesday / October 4th …

A strong upper system will be making its way across the Western U.S. and the Rockies by late weekend and early next week.  Model data has been remarkably consistent with regard to this system, but there have been day to day changes in the exact track, timing and strength.  Despite this, confidence is high that as strong southwest flow spreads across the Plains, deep low pressure will organize over the Central and Northern High Plains by Tuesday morning.   A narrow strip of moist and unstable air will spread northward in advance of a cold front and dryline.  Thunderstorms are expected to develop near these surface features by early to mid afternoon.  Given the degree of instability and shear, severe storms will be possible.  The most likely area to see severe weather lies across western Kansas, western Oklahoma, and parts of northwest Texas.  It is too early to determine storm mode and resulting hazards.

… Hurricane Matthew …

Hurricane Matthew underwent a period of rapid intensification about 520 miles east southeast of Kingston, Jamaica overnight.  Maximum sustained winds are now over 100 mph, and the pressure has dropped to 971 mb.  Some further intensification is possible over the next 1 to 3 days.  The hurricane is expected to track west or west southwest through Saturday morning, and then turn toward the northwest and approach Jamaica by early Monday.  After Monday, model data begins to diverge as the storm tracks toward the Bahamas.  The western side of the track guidance suggests that there will be at least a minimal threat to Florida, and eventually the Carolina’s from Wednesday through Saturday, but any further shift to the west would bring a greater threat.

Not a radar that I get to use very often.  The eye of Matthew is clearly visible from weather radar at Curacao.  Curacao is a small island country just north of Venezuela.

Not a radar that I get to use very often. The eye of Matthew is clearly visible from weather radar at Curacao. Curacao is a small island country just north of Venezuela.