Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 hurricane, is now moving away from the Bahamas and is just a few hours away from beginning a potentially catastrophic, rare Category 4 siege on Florida’s east coast, with dangerous storm surge, destructive winds and flooding rainfall stretching into Georgia and South Carolina by the weekend.
Tropical storm-force winds have already been impacting Florida’s east coast for the past several hours. Melbourne International Airport has gusted as high as 52 mph, so far. A 71-mph gust was recorded at Jensen Beach, Florida. A 70 mph gust was reported in Vero Beach, Florida.
The eyewall may deliver the strongest, most destructive winds anyone in parts of the northeast and east-central Florida coast has seen in their lifetime. The last, and only, Category 4 hurricane to make landfall anywhere in northeast Florida or the Georgia coast was an 1898 hurricane south of St. Simons Island, Georgia.
According to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, Florida, “Some of the lowest barrier islands will be completely overtopped with large battering waves and life-threatening flooding. Barrier islands are likely to be breached and it is extremely possible that new inlets will be cut off in the worst affected areas.”
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