(WLTX) - The forecast track of Hurricane Matthew has shifted to the west, which could mean the storm could have a greater impact on South Carolina by the weekend.
Currently, the storm has maximum sustained winds of 140 miles an hour and is moving to the north at 7 miles an hour. The storm is set to lash parts of the eastern Cuba and western Haiti with heavy rains and winds over the next day, with the possibility of 15 to 40 inches of rain.
Over the last several hours, the majority of the long-range computer models that try to project where the storm could go shifted to the west--in other words, closer to the southeastern U.S. shoreline. If that track were to prove true, parts of the South Carolina coast could see more significant impacts, particularly rainfall, than had earlier been projected.
"It looks like there's going to be heavy rain along the coast, there's going to be rip currents along the coast, beach erosion, some storm surge, and possibly some rain here in the Midlands," says News19 Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy.
At present, the consensus track from the National Hurricane Center does not show the center of Matthew's circulation coming ashore in the state; instead, the hurricane force winds would remain off the coast, probably coming closest to the Myrtle Beach area by Saturday afternoon. Again, however, that area would only see gusty winds and perhaps very heavy rain if the current thinking holds.
Because of the uncertainty in the track, all areas along the southeastern U.S. coastline from Florida to North Carolina should monitor the storm closely over the next several days. Already, Florida and North Carolina's governor have declared an emergency, and South Carolina has partially activated their emergency management center in an effort to coordinate any possible response the state may have to make.
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