Matthew Poised To Become A Hurricane Later Today
The vigorous tropical wave that forecasters have been watching move across the Atlantic basin the past few days did become a named storm. Matthew, the 13th named storm of the 2016 Hurricane Season, is expected to progress from tropical storm to hurricane later today.
As of the 2 AM advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables Florida the center of circulation of Matthew was a little over 300 miles south of San Juan Puerto Rico. The system showed a westward movement at 16 mph. The maximum sustained winds were reported to be 65 mph. The storm would be considered a category 1 hurricane should those wind speeds increase to 74 mph or greater. That is expected to occur by later this evening.
The Hurricane Center's forecast track should keep Matthew moving westward for the next 36 to 48 hours. After that time frame the storm is expected to be influenced by a trough of low pressure to the west of the system that should help push Matthew to the north around the back edge of the subtropical ridge. Exactly when and where the system will make that northerly turn is current question mark in the forecast.
Many of the reliable tracking models show that northerly turn occurring at different times. Some have the system remaining heading north over western Hispaniola while other models have the system moving east of Jamaica before making the northerly jog.
Almost all of the models are in agreement that the northern Gulf Coast should not be affected by this system. Regardless, tropical systems are notorious for making forecasters look less than professional so we will continue to monitor the system and bring you daily updates.