Hurricane MATTHEW inching towards western Haiti

Monday 3rd October 2016

Category four hurricane MATTHEW is now 200 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti and crawling north at 5 knots. The current hurricane severity index rating is 31 out of a possible 50 points (15 size, 16 intensity) with maximum sustained winds of 140 knots. This is a wide and intense storm. At one point last night, tropical storm winds were simultaneously being experienced in both northern Colombia and Jamaica. The storm itself has been wobbling in intensity but not in track and is still expected to be an upper cat 4 or lower cat 5 at the time of landfall. There seems to have been a steady stream of demented aerial observers buzzing the eye of MATTHEW in the last few hours, reporting with relish on dramatic eyewall replacement and lusty convection cycles. This has fed much technical chatter but there can be no doubt as to the outcome, I'm afraid. MATTHEW is a nasty, vicious storm. The slow track towards western Haiti has put landfall back by a few hours overnight tonight, which extends development time and increases the amount of moisture this is picking up, further fuelling misery at landfall. A further intensification to a peak hurricane severity rating of 33 out of a possible 50 points (18 size, 15 intensity) is expected later. If the eye clips the extreme west of Haiti, the strongest wind sector will remain just offshore Haiti but to be frank, this will be marginal as this is still likely to be catastrophic ashore. At the same time, hurricane conditions will be felt from eastern Jamaica to the western end of Haiti and thereafter, eastern Cuba. Some weakening may be expected as MATTHEW interacts with the islands of Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba, however it will remain a powerful hurricane as it passes over the Bahamas late on Tuesday.  There is much speculation and some utter nonsense thereafter as to proximity to the coast of Florida. Since this is a wide storm, it is likely that tropical storm force winds may be experienced along the coast as far north as the Carolinas but the worst excesses of MATTHEW post-Bahamas are likely to remain offshore. For now, anyway. 

Disturbance thirty nine  is around 700 miles north east of Puerto Rico, west-nor'west bound at 10 knots. This disturbance has become better organised over the last 24 hours and may have a development twinkle in its eye but will remain well clear of land. 

Well to the south and east of disturbance thirty nine, disturbance thirty eight is about 1200 miles to the east of the Lesser Antilles, moving west at 10 knots. This is pathetic and not expected to make the New World. 

Disturbance forty is about a day and a half west of the Cape Verde Islands and moving west at 12 knots. The system is currently disorganised and has little chance of development within the next week.

Conditions in the western Caribbean have warmed up and may be favourable for development over the next couple of weeks.  Disturbances surviving the Atlantic crossing will need to be monitored in the long range as they track into the west Caribbean.