UPDATED 2:37pm Sat — Hurricane Matthew remains a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 150km/h and gusts to 180km/h – while the winds are still destructive they are now becoming less of an issue with the major focus on destructive coastal storm surge and heavy rain both causing flooding in the low lying states of coastal Georgia and South Carolina.
The storm surge – a dome of sea water that has risen 3 metres above the normal height of the ocean around the centre of the storm – is moving north up the coastline and on top of that has waves of up to 8 metres high.
It’s this major sea flooding that is likely to cause the most destruction in Florida and overnight and into Sunday across Georgia and South Carolina.
With Matthew weakening this changes the way we will cover the storm as we expect reports to be slower coming now. The storm is also slowly weakening, as expected. This is the last update on this page – but we’ll still be covering the storm across the next few days in regular news updates, especially if it looks to curve back towards the US. This is not locked in though.
For those who still want regular updates remember we have set up a MAPS ONLY page with radar updating hourly:
Click here for our MAPS ONLY page just for Hurricane Matthew
Here’s the latest (as of 2:30pm Sat NZT) (FINAL UPDATE ON THIS PAGE)
- Hurricane Matthew is a Category 2 storm
- Air pressure: 948hPa – still very deep
- Sustained winds of 150km/h, gusts to 180km/h
- Haiti death toll now tops 800 and is likely to continue to rise
- 4 deaths have now been reported in the US due to Matthew
- Over 1 million without power in Florida alone
- Matthew is running almost perfectly parallel to the coastline and tonight NZT will curve NE around the state of Georgia and towards South Carolina.
- The storm centre “wobbled” last night which shifted the eye east/right away from land by about 20 or 30kms – this tiny change may have saved billions of dollars of damage.
- The deadliest part of a hurricane is storm surges and flooding – and this is now becoming an issue further north.
- Powercuts may last as long as 2 weeks
- There is no record of a storm behaving this way along the south eastern US coastline
- Matthew’s peak waves are up to 8 metres high… this is on top of the storm surge of 3 metres. Much of coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are close to sea level
- The National Hurricane Center says this storm will make parts of the US coastline “Uninhabitable for weeks or months”
- The last hurricane to hit Georgia was in 1979.
- 26 million Americans are in the path of Matthew
- Matthew to have a “potentially disastrous impact” – National Hurricane Center
SEE THE LATEST MAPS, TRACKS AND WARNINGS HERE – Autoupdates all weekend and into next week (http://www.weatherwatch.co.nz/hurricane-matthew)
– WeatherWatch.co.nz (A CNN affiliate)