Its hard to know how strong and how close, or if we will get a direct hit from Matthew, a 100 mph storm that is predicted to strengthen into a major hurricane before slamming into the eastern end of Cuba Tuesday night. It will certainly still be a hurricane when it enters the Bahamas. It WILL hit the Bahamas, unless it drifts west, as some forecasts show, meaning it could hit somewhere between Key West and Port St Lucie.

matthew-knocks-2

From NOAA:

HURRICANE MATTHEW SPECIAL DISCUSSION NUMBER   8NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

AL142016200 AM AST FRI SEP 30 2016

This special advisory is being issued in lieu of the scheduled intermediate advisory due to the rapid strengthening of Matthew during the past few hours.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft reported flight-level winds of 99 kt in the northern eye wall at 700 mb, along with surface wind estimates of 80-85 kt from the SFMR instrument.

In addition, the central pressure has fallen to 979 mb.  Based on these data, the initial intensity is increased to 85 kt.  This also requires significant changes to the intensity forecast, which now calls for Matthew to reach major hurricane status in 24 hours and maintain it through 96 hours.  It is unclear how long the rapid strengthening will continue, and therevised forecast could be conservative.