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Major Hurricane Matthew to pound southeastern US coast with surf, rain and wind

By By Jordan Root, AccuWeather senior meteorologist.
October 06, 2016, 3:57:08 AM EDT

In a moment, you will be directed to the latest news story on Matthew's forecast impact on the U.S.

Beyond the Bahamas, Matthew will threaten the southeastern United States coast as a major hurricane with pounding surf, torrential rain and damaging winds starting late this week.

Conditions will deteriorate from south to north from Florida to the Carolinas late this week and into this weekend as powerful Hurricane Matthew approaches.


Matthew will take a northwestern turn over the Bahamas on Wednesday and will continue on a northwesterly path that will bring the system very close to the Florida east coast on Friday and the South Carolina coast during Friday night, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

"From Saturday to Sunday, a sharp turn toward the northeast is forecast with the center continuing to parallel the coast," Kottlowski said.

The eye wall may brush the coast or remain just offshore.

Officials across the Southeast are taking precautions ahead of the storm. On Monday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for 66 counties in central and eastern North Carolina. He was later joined by Florida Gov. Rick Scott who issued a statewide state of emergency. Both governors also activated portions of their National Guard.

On Tuesday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency and ordered the evacuation of more than one million people from coastal areas along the state, while Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 13 counties.

In Florida, all Brevard Public Schools will be closed on Thursday and Friday due to the approaching hurricane.

Matthew to raise monstrous seas, bring danger to coastal US

The most widespread impacts will be for seas and surf to build to dangerous and damaging levels.

The number and strength of rip currents will increase.


Storm surge and wave action will lead to coastal flooding with the worst conditions at times of high tide.

Some low-lying access roads to the islands may be inundated.

Offshore, seas can build to monstrous levels. Wave heights from north of the Bahamas to just east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, will top 25 feet as Matthew moves northward.

Cruise and freight interests may want to reroute their course to avoid the dangerous conditions.

Bathers and boaters should heed all advisories as they are issued. To venture in or on the sea will put not only you, but also your would-be rescuers, at risk.

Risk of flooding, damaging winds to expand in southeastern US

Along the immediate eastern Florida and Georgia coasts, winds can gust close to hurricane force with tropical storm conditions possible farther inland along the Interstate-95 corridor.

Most of the heavy rain and the risk of sporadic poor-drainage area flooding is likely to be restricted to the coast and along I-95.

Farther north, along the I-95 corridor in the Carolinas and perhaps over the Virginia capes, people should be prepared for tropical storm conditions with the potential for heavy rain and the risk of flash and urban flooding. Right along the coast, gusts may range between 75 and 100 mph.

Winds this strong can down trees and large tree limbs, cause property damage and knock out power. Even lesser wind in southeastern Virginia could topple trees in the soggy soil from prior rainfall.

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Heavy rain and strong winds could push farther west over the Carolinas, should Matthew make landfall and move inland, rather than parallel the coast.

Matthew less likely to impact the northeastern US this weekend

"Any impacts in the Northeastern states will be dependent on the track of Matthew and its interaction with a storm system approaching from the west this weekend," Kottlowski said.

At this time it appears Matthew is most likely to get turned eastward, before reaching northeastern U.S. Atlantic waters.

Matthew could meander along the Southeast coast for days as a result.

All U.S. interests from Maine to Florida along the coast and the I-95 corridor still need to closely monitor the track, strength and forward speed of Matthew into next week, since there is some uncertainty of the long-range path.

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