Category 3 MATTHEW set to intensify
Friday 30th September 2016 Category three hurricane MATTHEW is running west at 12 knots across the southern Caribbean, currently 500 miles south east of Kingston, Jamaica. The current hurricane severity index (HSI) rating is 20 out of a possible 50 points (11 size, 9 intensity) with maximum sustained winds of 90 to 110 knots with tropical storm force winds over a 200 mile radius. I see little deviation in the current consensus of MATTHEW making a 90 degree alteration of course to starboard when it is north of Lake Maracaibo and heading due north towards Jamaica. This is not good news.
The central Caribbean is rich with warm water which is fuel for vertical convection and will cause further intensification on the next leg. When this occurs, an expected peak HSI of 32 out of a possible 50 points (15 size / 17 intensity) means a nasty category 4 hurricane with 125 knot winds making a landfall in Jamaica, Haiti and /or eastern Cuba on Monday. Although it still seems this will then cross the Bahamas and clear the eastern seaboard, some hurricane response plans are being activated along the coast of Florida from the northern Keys to Cape Canaveral, which is a wise move. The sheer magnitude of the expected course alternation brings some uncertainty into the exact track to the north and a wobble either side could have significant consequences. This is going to hurt, I'm afraid. We will have a better idea tomorrow. 800 miles north of the mouth of the Amazon, disturbance thirty nine is moving to the west-nor'west at 8 knots producing squalls, but is otherwise fairly disorganised and is encountering very hostile upper level conditions. This is likely to remain out at sea. Disturbance thirty eight is about 300 miles to the west-sou'west of the Cape Verde Islands, moving west at 12 knots. This is a bit useless and doesn't seem keen to develop at the moment. Stand by for hurricane conditions across the north coast of Venezuela and start battening down in the central Caribbean.