Hurricane Matthew could leave up to seven million people located between Miami and the Carolinas without power, according to the latest power outage forecasts from researchers at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and Texas A&M University.
The forecasts show the storm will hit Florida Thursday night and the Carolinas by Saturday night, but they are likely to change as the storm progresses over the next few hours, WJXT reported.
“We’ll be running new power outage forecasts every six hours,” Seth Guikema, U-M associate professor of industrial and operations engineering, told WJXT. “With a storm this size, a small wobble isn’t going to change things very much. Even if it stays over the ocean, there are likely to be substantial power outage impacts.”
The researchers have developed a predictive model to make the forecasts using the National Hurricane Center’s weather forecast and data, such as population density, tree cover, and soil moisture levels to calculate the probability of a power outage in a given area.
The power outage model considers factors like how the weather will affect trees and how long winds in a particular area will remain over 45 mph.
The team is presenting these detailed models to utility companies so they can efficiently use repair crews and other resources before, during, and after the storm.
The model accurately predicted that ten million people would lose power during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.