At 8am EDT this morning the center of Hurricane Matthew was located approximately 220 miles Southeast of Kingston Jamaica and was moving North at 6 mph. Maximum sustained winds remained near 130 mph with gusts of 140-150 mph. The minimum central pressure was 943 mb/27.85 inches of mercury.
Very damaging hurricane conditions and heavy rainfall will overspread Jamaica and Haiti later tonight into early Tuesday. The center of Hurricane Matthew is forecast to continue moving in a general Northward direction through pre-dawn Thursday, then a slight jog toward the North/Northwest is possible into the pre-dawn hours of Saturday.
The highest winds associated with Matthew are located near and to the East of the center of the system. With this in mind, if Matthew continues along the currently projected path, neither Tropical Storm nor Hurricane force winds would impact Florida, as these winds would occur offshore to the East of the peninsula on Friday and Saturday. We will continue monitoring the movement of Matthew very closely for any signs of a Westward shift of the center later this week. Regardless as to the exact track of the center of Matthew, much higher than normal surf, wave action and rip currents can be expected along the Eastern coast of Florida and southeast Georgia from Thursday through Saturday.
Beyond Florida…considerable uncertainty exists regarding the likely track of Matthew this weekend, which could include impacts to the Carolinas depending on the motion of the system and the areal coverage of the highest winds by that time. It is currently way too early to try and estimate potential impacts for the weekend time period, so please stay tuned for further updates as the situation becomes more clear throughout the week.