Confidence growing: Matthew won't directly impact SWFL

Posted at 7:12 PM, Oct 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-02 19:19:41-04

As the headline states, Southwest Florida likely won't be dealing with the wrath of Hurricane Matthew. However, the approaching storm will contribute to our overall weather pattern in other ways this week. More on that below.

As of the Sunday afternoon advisory, Hurricane Matthew remains a powerful category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds at 145 mph. The system is moving slowly NW at 5 mph but is expected to take a more northerly track by Monday.

On Monday, Matthew will still be hundreds of miles south of Florida. Matthew is expected to impact Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba, where Hurricane Warnings remain in effect, as a major category 4 storm before weakening slightly by Tuesday.

The slower track of Matthew will bring devastating conditions for the Caribbean Islands where torrential rain, flooding, mudslides and storm surge can be expected. 

While the mountainous regions will weaken the storm some, Matthew is still expected to be a major hurricane moving near the Bahamas on Tuesday. 

There continues to be model consensus that Matthew will eventually track east of Florida by midweek, and the cone of uncertainty has shifted further east taking nearly all of South Florida out of the cone. This means, no direct hit from Matthew is expected in Southwest Florida.

However, model divergence by midweek show that there are still plenty of questions as to where Matthew will eventually end up. If the system tracks slightly west of the projected path, parts of South Florida could see the threat of numerous storms, gusty winds and rough seas. A further eastward track would mean minimal impacts for the region with drier weather and breezy conditions for the second half of the week.

Having said this, it's still too early to completely rule out a direct impact anywhere in Florida. However, at this time, this is unlikely.

There is even more uncertainty in the long range forecast and whether or not Matthew will impact the eastern United States at all. At this time, we continue to urge folks to check back in for the latest updates on air and online.