Matthew has weakened slightly as the eye has filled in on satellite. As of the early morning advisory, winds have decreased to 155 mph. The storm is encountering some westerly wind shear and that may have contributed to the slight weakening trend along with internal structural changes with the storm. It continues moving west at around 7 mph and this motion is expected to continue today before making a turn toward the northwest by Sunday into Monday.
WHERE IS IT GOING?:
Matthew will continue to move toward the west through at least the first part of today with a turn toward the northwest by Sunday and north by Monday. It is then that will likely directly affect Jamaica as a major hurricane as well as Haiti and eastern Cuba. There is a large cone of uncertainty at around 5 days as it approaches the Bahamas and South Florida. At the earliest, any portion of Florida that could be affected by this storm won't be until late Tuesday or Wednesday...maybe even as late as Thursday if the movement is slower than forecast.
The latest computer model forecasts havent changed much since last night with a slight shift back to the east noted by the GFS. The Euro is still showing the storm missing the U.S. entirely, taking it out to sea as a strong upper level trough moves in from the west and picks it up later in the period. There is still a tight clustering of the models just off the Florida coast around the Bahamas and this track as been fairly consistent for several days. In the short term, Jamaica, eastern Cuba and Haiti are next in line from the effects of Matthew before heading to the Bahamas later in the week.
WILL WE BE AFFECTED IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA?:
I still feel that this storm's effects will be felt mainly to the east of our area. The Florida east coast has more to worry about from this system than we do based on the latest trends. Can a shift even further west be possible? Absolutely! Given the slow movement of the storm through the Caribbean, there is a chance that the patterns could change enough to allow for the storm to make a closer path to the peninsula. I don't see Matthew going into the Gulf at all, so that scenario is unlikely. The GFS is forecasting a bend to the northwest while it is moving through the Bahamas and this looks to be the opportunity to affect Florida.
There is still plenty of time to watch this. We'll keep you updated!
Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley