Hurricane Matthew may approach US next week
By By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
October 02, 2016, 4:54:26 AM EDT
This story has been updated. In a moment you will be taken to the latest story on Matthew's impact on the U.S.
Matthew has become a hurricane in the Caribbean and may approach the U.S. during next week.
Matthew will drift west-southwestward over the open waters of the central Caribbean Sea through Saturday.
Matthew strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane early Friday morning. There is the potential for Matthew to strengthen even further during the weekend.
Matthew to turn toward or steer east of US next week
Questions remain about Matthew's exact track beyond the Caribbean next week. However, indications point toward a north to northwest path, which will bring the system close to the U.S.
Whether or not impacts will be indirect from a hurricane at sea or direct from a landfall in the U.S. are unclear.
Possible tracks range from a storm riding up east of the Atlantic coast to the eastern Gulf of Mexico, along the Florida west coast.
At this time, a track east of or close to the U.S. Atlantic coast is more likely but that could change.
The path will depend on exactly where the storm makes the northward turn and how the storm negotiates the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola and/or Cuba.
Other weather systems will play a role in the initial northward turn and then the path that Matthew takes north of Cuba.
These systems include a southward dip in the jet stream, which is a fast river of air, high in the atmosphere. Strong southern winds on the eastern side of the jet stream is the mechanism that will turn Matthew to the north late this weekend.
Another player is the position of a non-tropical storm, which will either draw Matthew into the U.S. or kick the storm out to sea in the Atlantic.
As a result, all U.S. coastal interests, as well as cruise, fishing, shipping and petroleum operations along the Atlantic Seaboard and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico should closely monitor the path and evolution of Matthew.
During early next week, people in the coastal areas of southeastern U.S. may want to consider securing their small craft and preparing to protect property against stormy conditions, should Matthew turn toward land.
Even if Matthew turns toward the sea next week, rough surf and heavy seas would occur along the Atlantic coast.
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