Forecasters said Monday that Hurricane Matthew is continuing to gain strength as it moves north across the Caribbean, on a path that could pass off South Carolina’s coast by next weekend.
The immediate concern is on the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica, which sit in the Category 4 hurricane’s immediate path. As of 5 p.m., the hurricane was roughly 140 miles south of Tiburon, Haiti with wind speeds near 140 miles per hour.
But if the projections are correct (always tricky with hurricanes and tropical storms), Matthew would weaken but keep its hurricane status as it reaches the waters off the Carolinas. Current models have it passing offshore of South Carolina on Friday night and Saturday, but striking North Carolina’s Outer Banks islands on Sunday. Those models are very likely to change in the coming days.
Forecasters say the latest models place Matthew’s path closer to South Carolina’s coast than projections earlier on Monday. However, they warn that Matthew’s size has the potential to create tropical-storm force winds and flooding along South Carolina’s coast even if it passes miles offshore.
South Carolina Emergency Management Division officials are already meeting as they prepare for Matthew. “We want to be in a position to be able to respond should we start get requests from local authorities and county officials,” SCEMD director Kim Stenson told South Carolina Radio Network. “Basically, we’re just getting our systems up and being sure that we’ll be in a position to respond if we need to.”