Hurricane Matthew is weaker this morning thanks to the terrain of Cuba and Haiti along with some moderate wind shear. It is moving to the NNW now and will track through the Bahamas over the next 24-30 hours. Matthew is forecast to strengthen over the very warm water and less wind shear over the Islands with 130 mph winds, or a Category 4 storm.
Then Matthew is forecast to continue moving NW toward the East Coast of Florida. At this time it could get very close to the coast, possibly less than 50 miles offshore as a Cat. 4 Hurricane. This would be close enough to cause some major problems to the coastal areas and even inland due to the large wind field. The forecast models (GFS and Euro) are showing that it could even make a possible landfall along the coast near Cape Canaveral, FL on Friday Afternoon. The current forecast track from NHC keeps Matthew just offshore FL at this time, but they have been inching the track closer to the coast. Therefore, we will have to see if there will be any more shifts westward in the track.
Now the question is, where will Matthew go next? The models agree that is will turn NE then E and stay just off the GA, SC and NC Coasts as of this morning. The GFS and Euro now show a new trend of curving it out to the Atlantic, but then turning south, then back west toward the Bahamas and even Florida for another possible landfall next Tuesday through Thursday, October 11-13, possibly as a hurricane!
This looping thing isn't uncommon...remember Ivan did this back in 2004! It made landfall on Gulf Shores, AL then moved over the Carolinas, back into the Atlantic, curved around to make a 2nd landfall over Northern Florida, crossed over the Northern Gulf of Mexico with a final landfall near Lake Charles, LA. What a mess!!
The models DO NOT show it going into the Gulf of Mexico at this time either. Matthew is not a threat to Louisiana.
If you are headed to the LSU game at Florida in Gainesville, the weather will be good for the 11 am kickoff. It will be partly cloudy and a little breezy with temperatures around 80°. However, if you are arriving on Friday, expect tropical storm conditions in Gainesville with some heavy rain bands. Fortunately, Univ. of Florida is more inland than Orlando, so they won't feel the worst of Matthew. However, there could still be some wind damage and power outages around town on Saturday.
Stay tuned to additional updates here and on my Facebook/Twitter feeds over the next few days. -Dave