MATTHEW ashore in Haiti

Tuesday 4th October 2016

The eye of category four hurricane MATTHEW has just made a landfall near Les Anglais on the extreme west of the south coast of Haiti. Hurricane force winds are now impacting the area with tragic inevitability. Reports are already being circulated of fatalities amongst fishermen and of dwellers on the Tiburon peninsula. MATTHEW hit the beach on the Tiburon peninsula on a  north-nor'easterly track at 6 knots with sustained winds of up to 150 knots and a tropical storm windfield of 190 miles. The current hurricane  severity rating is 30 out of a possible 50 points (11 size, 19 intensity). Catastrophic damage from flooding and/or wind is already occurring  - for Haiti, the Dominican Republic, far east Cuba, and later, the Bahamas  - and figures of up to 40 inches of rain are being bandied about. After swiping Haiti a glancing blow, - not enough to drastically reduce intensity -  the centre will track over or near far eastern Cuba tonight as a powerful hurricane and thereafter remain a powerful storm as it tracks through the Bahamas on Wednesday and Thursday.  

Without wanting to minimise the plight of the poor souls of Haiti, all eyes are now on the track post-Bahamas. For several days, the general consensus amongst respected commentators  has wavered between 100 and 150 miles off the coast of Florida running parallel to the south-eastern seaboard then curving seaward abeam of Cape Hatteras. There have been one or two exceptions to this, notably the UK Met Office which has steadfastly stuck to a near miss or landfall on the coast of Florida. That track seems to be gathering momentum now and the range of potential landfalls ranges from Miami to North Carolina. There are considerable variations on this theme and readers in the impact areas will be seeing far more reliable and up, to date information than these daily bulletins can provide. One would strongly suggest all hurricane response plans should be activated for the entire length of the east coast of Florida and along the eastern seaboard to North Carolina. Things will change quickly and we will increase the frequency of these reports over the next few days.

Disturbance thirty nine is located in the Atlantic about 600 miles north-west of the Windward Islands and moving to the west-nor'west at 10 knots.. This disturbance has become better organised over the last 24 hours and may yet develop but will remain away from land areas. 

Disturbance thirty eight is about 675 miles to the east of the Windward Islands and moving quickly to the west. This will bring showers and storms to the Lesser Antilles on Thursday and Friday but without significant development.  Things will change if or when this enters the Caribbean where environmental conditions are favourable for development.

Disturbance forty is around 400 miles astern of thirty eight and moving west at 16 knots. This system is currently disorganised and has little chance of development.