Hurricane Matthew is getting ever so closer to Florida. It has 130 mph winds and central pressure of 939 millibars as of 8:00 PM EDT. Here is the most recent Doppler radar image.
Freeport, Bahamas got hammered by the inner eyewall of Matthew. They experienced 140 mph winds! That means gust as high as 210 mph! I can imagine a lot of damage in Freetown. The latest forecast where Matthew will go is looking less encouraging.
Looks more likely a Florida landfall as the heat map shows whites over the state. The heat map is within 300 miles radius of forecast point. I created this heat map to make it visually easier to understand. Here is the most recent wind radii map. Once it goes past Florida, it could go over Jacksonville and it could be really bad. Hurricanes very rarely affect that part of Florida. It can go into Georgia, which also rarely sees major hurricanes. The last time Jacksonville area saw a major hurricane was Hurricane Dora in 1964. The last time Georgia saw a major hurricane was in 1898, the 1898 Georgia Hurricane. Both were devastating for that area. South Carolina could also get hit by Matthew. The last time a major hurricane hit South Carolina was Hugo in 1989. Matthew may make landfall on North Carolina. The last major hurricane to hit North Carolina was Fran in 1996.
It is quite a large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 60 miles. Tropical storm force winds extend up to 185 miles. It is quite a large hurricane. The intensity forecast maintains Category 4 right before it hits Florida.
Despite it weakening, I think there could be last minute intensification, possibly up to Category 5. That would be a horrible prospect. To make matters worse, there is storm surge. Storm surge kills more people than anything in a tropical cyclone. It is what killed most people in Katrina, 1970 Bhola Cyclone, and Tropical Cyclone Nargis. Here is a storm surge map.
Some areas could see storm surge as high as 15 feet. As they say, hide from wind run from water. No need to evacuate from wind unless one lives in a trailer park. People evacuate because of storm surge. Storm surge is very dangerous and can rise quickly. That large amount of water will exert a lot of force.
This is going to be a very horrible weather event for Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. This could be a huge disaster unfolding. As for Haiti, many lives have been lost. At least 283 lives have been lost in Haiti. I expect the death toll to rise. Haiti is the worst place to get hit by hurricanes as they are still reeling from the January 12, 2010 Earthquake that claimed 100,000 lives. It could be very bad for Florida as many chose not to evacuate.