(WLTX) - Hurricane Matthew looks as if it will have a big impact on South Carolina's weather this weekend, as the storm continues to lumber toward an eventual interaction with the southeastern U.S.
Presently, Matthew has maximum sustained winds of 145 miles an hour, and has picked up a little forward speed, moving to the north now at 10 miles an hour.
Hurricane warnings are in effect for Cuba, the Bahamas, and Haiti, and a hurricane watch watch was issued for part of the center to southern Florida coastline.
Right now, Matthew is moving through Haiti, causing potentially devastating damage there. It's expected to move past Haiti and Cuba by the end of the day or early Wednesday morning.
The latest computer models show Matthew moving across the Bahamas Wednesday and Thursday. For South Carolina, the point where it clears those islands will be critical to its impact on this state. The current thinking is Matthew will hug close to the Florida coast, then move up toward South Carolina. It's possible the storm's center of circulation could come ashore somewhere near the North Carolina/South Carolina border by early Saturday morning.
The models moved up the timing somewhat, putting the majority of the effects in our state late Friday and into overnight Saturday. However, this could shift again, so don't be surprised to see the timeframe change before Matthew impacts are state.
So what will be the impact across South Carolina? At present, the computer models are in good agreement that Matthew will have a significant effect on South Carolina's weather, but just how much is still to be determined. As Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy says, this will depend on the track of the storm. Right now, it appears the South Carolina coastline will get the brunt of the effects, with tropical storm to hurricane force winds possible, and rainfall that could produce flash flooding.
In the Midlands, we'd likely see gusty winds and some at times heavy rains. But rainfall totals this far out are difficult to project, so we'll get more precise the closer we get to the weekend--and the closer Matthew gets to us.
Incidentally, Tropical Storm Nicole formed several hundred miles off the U.S. coast, but the storm is not expected to affect the U.S. in any way.
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