11:30 p.m. Update:
Chief Meteorologist Tom Terry says there is still the possibility Hurricane Matthew could 'wobble' back to the west.
Meanwhile, the peak storm surge has reduced from 9 feet+ to 6 feet+ because of the shift east in the 11:00 track update. We are going to continue to monitor the surge; high tide is in 30 minutes and that will effect the storm surge.
11:00 p.m. Update:
Hurricane Matthew remains a category 4 hurricane, but it has weakened very slightly. It has also shifted slightly to the east, which is good news. However, you should not let your guard down. A high storm surge is still predicted and the wind gusts will still be an issue.
A new flood advisory has been issued for the northern part of Central Florida.
10:45 p.m. Update:
Right now the eye of Hurricane Matthew is 50 miles off of the coast of Martin County.
10:15 p.m. Update:
45 minutes before the next track is released, Chief Meteorologist Tom Terry says Hurricane Matthew is developing a double eyewall. It is a rare situation that means there are two sets of the strongest winds, expanding the hurricane-force wind field.
9:30 p.m. Update:
Parts of Central Florida are under an Areal Flood Warning. %
So far, 5.1 inches of rain has been reported at the airport in Sanford; 8.66 inches in southwest Sanford.
8:30 p.m. Update:
Hurricane Matthew now passing Grand Bahama; begins approach to Florida as a Category 4 storm. Portions of Volusia, Brevard coasts at risk for a 7 foot+ storm surge.
5 p.m. update:
Hurricane Matthew continues to gain strength and seems to be going through the eye-wall replacement cycle, which could lead to further intensification.
Matthew is a strong Category 4 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph and is moving northwest at 13 mph.
Tropical storm-force winds extend outward to 185 miles and hurricane-force winds extend 60 miles.
Its wind field could widen a bit more before making landfall early Friday.
4 p.m. update
2 p.m. update:
Hurricane Matthew is barreling toward Florida with 140 mph winds.
Tropical storm squalls are working into South Florida Thursday afternoon. Severe Weather Center 9’s meteorologists said the pressure is down, which is a sign of further strengthening.
In Brevard County, the wind is packing quite a punch.
11 a.m. update:
Hurricane Matthew strengthened to a catastrophic Category 4 storm Thursday as it barrels toward the heavily-populated coast of Florida.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm's maximum sustained winds had strengthened to 140 mph as of late Thursday morning and were expected to maintain their strength as the storm approaches the Florida coast.
Hurricane conditions were also still affecting the Bahamas. The storm was expected to start affecting Florida by early afternoon Thursday.
The death toll in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew has risen to at least 108.
The storm is centered about 215 miles southeast of West Palm Beach and moving northwest toward the state at 12 mph.
Gov. Rick Scott is warning Florida residents living in evacuation zones to "get out."
Scott said anyone living in low-lying areas or on barrier islands should "evacuate, evacuate, evacuate." He said tolls have been lifted on all roadways to help make evacuations easier.
Remarking that "this is game day," Scott warned people to stay off beaches up and down Florida's Atlantic coastline Thursday, adding that "no one needs to be on the beach doing anything."
The governor has activated another 1,000 National Guard members, bringing the total to 2,500. He said they'll be available to help with evacuations and getting people to shelters.
Officials said some 3,000 people have already checked into shelters in Florida ahead of Hurricane Matthew's approach.
According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, 48 shelters are already providing refuge for 3,015 people in Florida. Another 13 special needs shelters are already housing 31 people.
TIMELINE OF CHANGING WEATHER ON THURSDAY
Hurricane Matthew's impact will start across south Florida Thursday morning, with tropical storm to hurricane conditions and hazardous seas.
Across Central Florida, breezy conditions will prevail on Thursday morning as the pressure gradient (differences between the high and the low) tightens. Dangerous conditions will shift north during the day on Thursday, and conditions will quickly deteriorate late Thursday afternoon continuing through Friday afternoon.
"Please stay alert, as conditions will be changing rapidly," Tom Terry said.
At any point along the coast, hurricane conditions will be possible for an 18 to 24-hour stretch and storm damage could be significant and unprecedented.
Hurricane warnings have been issued for Volusia, Brevard, Osceola and Orange counties.
IMPACTS & THREATS
Along the coast (Brevard, Volusia, and Flagler counties):
- Thursday: Tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 mph (sustained winds)
- Friday: Strongest winds, likely hurricane-force winds, sustained, of at least 100 mph. Very high surf, waves above 15 feet, storm surge above 6 feet along the coast Brevard, Volusia and Flagler counties, rip currents and large beach erosion. Rainfall could vary between 3 and 6 inches, depending on the track and where the bands become more persistent.
Storm surge: An abnormal rise of water, generated by a storm over and above the predicted astronomical tide, will be a big problem for coastal Brevard, Volusia and Flagler residents.
The eastern coastal counties are under a storm surge watch. Please evacuate if ordered to evacuate. Water the main cause of death when a hurricane strikes.
This rise of water could occur even well away from the track of the center, depending on the relative timing of the surge and tidal cycle.
Inland (Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Polk, Sumter, Marion)
- Thursday: Breezy. Winds will be increasing through the afternoon. Persistent rain bands could bring some heavier rain amounts. Weather will be quickly deteriorating, please stay tuned to the latest weather updates.
- Friday: Hurricane-force winds likely. Rain bands with embedded thunderstorms, depending on the track and where the bands become more persistent. Some of these rain bands could have severe thunderstorms embedded in them, producing stronger winds gusts and the possibility of developing tornadoes.
"Matthew continues to pose a threat like we've never seen before. Along the coast, it is a life-threatening situation. We remain at risk for a direct hit from Matthew," said Meteorologist Brian Shields.
"We have never, ever seen anything like this in Central Florida," he said. "Matthew is the greatest weather threat we've ever faced."
"I expect this storm to bring significant damage to Central Florida, including the potential of prolonged power outages, especially along the east coast," said Terry.
Coastal residents are urged to follow official orders. Brevard County and Volusia County have already ordered mandatory evacuations for the barrier islands.
If you have not evacuated in mandatory areas, authorities warned that rescuers will not be able provide help or rescues when danger strikes.
Video in Spanish serving our Spanish-speaking community, residents and tourists. By Digital meteorologist Irene Sans
Our team of meteorologists will continue to monitor Matthew closely and bring you updates about its evolution on WFTV Channel 9, WFTV.com, the WFTV Weather app and on all of our social media platforms. Newscasts air at 5 a.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m on WFTV and from 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. and at 10 a.m. on WRDQ.
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