Overview: Hurricane Matthew has moved away from the United States. From Thursday through Saturday, the storm roughly paralleled the coast from southeastern Florida to North Carolina. Matthew officially made landfall near McClellanville, SC and then moved back over water near Myrtle Beach, SC. It then tracked just offshore of southeastern North Carolina before heading eastward out to sea.
Track: Hurricane Matthew approached southeastern Florida during the evening of Thursday, October 6th as a category 4 hurricane. It weakened to category 3 intensity on Friday morning as it tracked north-northwestward just offshore the Florida coast. The storm’s center of circulation made it within 25 miles of land, causing the western eyewall to impact the coast from Melbourne northward to Palm Coast. Matthew weakened to category 2 intensity on Friday evening as it passed east of Jacksonville, FL. The storm tracked northward off the Georgia coast overnight and then turned northeastward as it approached South Carolina early Saturday morning. As Matthew passed east of Charleston, it wobbled back toward the north-northeast, causing it to make landfall near McClellanville, SC around 1100 AM EDT on Saturday morning. By this time, it had weakened to a category 1 hurricane. A few hours later, Matthew turned abruptly toward the east near Myrtle Beach, SC and moved back over the water. The storm then continued its northeastward path just offshore of North Carolina on Saturday night as a category 1 hurricane. Matthew transitioned to a post-tropical storm early Sunday morning as it moved out to sea.
|Hurricane Matthew’s Storm Track and Wind Field|
Blue Bands Represent Hurricane Force Winds - Green Bands Represent Tropical Storm Winds
Winds: Hurricane force wind gusts occurred for much of the coastline from southeastern Florida all the way up to southeastern Virginia. As with most hurricanes in the northern hemisphere, Matthew’s strongest winds were confined to the northern and eastern portions of its eyewall. Because the center of circulation remained offshore while Matthew was a major hurricane, coastal areas were spared of the storm’s strongest winds. The maximum recorded wind over land was 107 mph at Cape Canaveral, FL, though this station was on a tower 54 feet above the ground. A 96 mph gust was recorded at Tybee Island, GA. Virginia Beach was the furthest north location to report hurricane force winds where a 75 mph gust was recorded.
Storm Surge: Storm surge was the most severe for the coastline from northeastern Florida through southeastern Virginia. The maximum recorded storm surge was at Fort Pulaski, GA (just to the east of Savannah) where a tidal gauge recorded 8.5 feet above normal, breaking the record for that location. Fernandina Beach, FL (northeast of Jacksonville) recorded a surge of 6.4 feet. The storm surge at Charleston, SC was 6.1 feet, which was just under the record of 6.7 feet set by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
|Fort Pulaski Tide Gauge Showing the Record Breaking Storm Surge|
Rainfall: Excessive rainfall led to historic flooding from southeastern Georgia northward to southeastern Virginia. The maximum recorded rainfall was 18.38 inches near Elizabethtown, NC. There were widespread reports of amounts in excess of 10 inches. Numerous river gauges recorded record breaking levels. Savannah Airport recorded 8.94 inches of rain on Friday, which shattered the previous daily rainfall record of 2.81 inches set in 1946.
|Rainfall Totals from Hurricane Matthew|
Radar and Satellite Images