Hurricane Matthew has become something for the United States to worry about after becoming a Category 2 storm that's expected to strengthen over the weekend and now steering a course toward Florida.
Matthew is expected to approach the U.S. early next week, according to AccuWeather, and its path projected by the National Weather Service Hurricane Center (above graphic) puts it directly over the Bahamas on Tuesday night.
The hurricane is expected to drift west-southwestward over the central Caribbean Sea through Saturday, said AccuWeather.
There are still questions about the hurricane's exact path once it crosses over the Caribbean, but current evidence points to a north to northwest path, bringing Matthew close to the states.
On Friday morning, a track east of or close to the U.S. Atlantic coast was considered the most likely scenario, even though the hurricane’s path will be greatly impacted based on where it makes its northward turn and how it accommodates the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola, Jamaica and Cuba.
Each of these mountainous islands has a history of tearing apart hurricanes, especially ones that aren’t that strong from the start. However, the fact that Matthew is said to be strengthening going into the weekend, the outcome could be different if it withstands those enclaves.
History says that storms that surface in October tend to turn north after reaching the eastern Caribbean, The Washington Post noted. In fact, past storms that made a sharp turn to the north, all occurred towards the end of September, and the same appears to be the case for Matthew.
Still, though, there are other systems expected to factor into Hurricane Matthew’s outcome — like the southern dip in the jet stream, as well as a non-tropical storm.
The southern dip will consist of strong winds on the eastern side of the jet stream, which will turn Matthew to the north in the latter part of the weekend, AccuWeather noted. The non-tropical storm will either draw Matthew into the U.S. or push the storm out to sea in the Atlantic.
The Post said Matthew is the season’s fifth hurricane, but it’s arrival is a little premature, as it wasn’t expected to reach the hurricane stage this soon.
One hurricane that stands out when looking back at history is 1954's Hurricane Hazel, which traveled through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast after making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, the Post noted.
Hazel prompted serious efforts to improve hurricane observations, forecasts and warnings.
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