Hurricane Matthew made landfall on McClellanville, South Carolina with 75 mph winds and central pressure of 967 millibars. The highest wind on land is 64 mph with gusts of 96 mph. Many areas are seeing 40 to 60 mph winds with gusts of 70 to 90 mph.
Hurricane force winds extend up to 25 miles, while tropical storm force extend up to 185 miles. Matthew is weakening and could be a tropical storm later today. Intensity forecast have Matthew weakening in the next few days.
Doppler radar out of Wilmington, shows that Matthew is inland. Being close to land has weakened Matthew from a major hurricane.
Despite it weakening, Matthew is dumping flooding rain. Flooding will be the major problem for the Southeast, especially for South Carolina and North Carolina. Doppler radar estimate has much as 15 inches of rain near the South Carolina and Georgia border. Areas where South Carolina and North Carolina meet, 6 to 8 inches of rain has fallen so far. More rain is expected to fall in South Carolina and North Carolina.
South Carolina could see an additional 4 to 6 inches of rain, which means the total could be 10 to 15 inches of rain. North Carolina could see ab additional 10 inches of rain. North Carolina could see as much as 10 to 15 inches of rain. Some areas could see as much 20 inches of rain.
On top of the heavy rain, there is dangerous storm surge. Many areas could see 5 to 7 feet storm surge with isolated areas seeing 10 feet storm surge. Storm surge is more related to size of storm, shallowness of water, and geography. A large Category 1 or 2 hurricane over large area of shallow water with funnel shape area will produce higher storm surge than a small Category 4 or 5 hurricane with deeper waters off the coast. Ike and Sandy produced high storm surge despite being under Category 3 because of their large size and geography of affected areas. Storm surge is the biggest killer in hurricanes. The storm surge will make flooding worse as flood waters cannot drain quickly enough.
Forecast models are all over where Matthew goes. Most have it going eastwards into the Atlantic. Where it goes becomes more complicated. Some have Matthew looping southward towards the Bahamas and even entering the Gulf of Mexico. Some models have it going near Canada. Another fly in the ointment is Tropical Storm Nicole. I do not think it will have much influences due to the small size of the storm.
Hurricane Matthew is going to be a huge problem for South Carolina and North Carolina. The southern part of Haiti is largely flattened by Matthew. 90 percent of some areas are leveled. The death toll is certainly going to rise. One district, Grand-Anse, at least 470 people have died. I suspect the death toll will be in the thousands. This could be Haiti’s worst hurricane since Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. Jeanne claimed 3,006 people in Haiti. Most of the death was from deadly flooding from heavy rain in the amount of 12 to 15 inches. Most of the death occurred in Gonaïves. Gonaïves had 2,826 of its residence die. Jeanne did not even make landfall as it was a tropical storm.