Matthew was battering Haiti and Jamaica Monday night as a Category 4 hurricane. It continues to move north toward the western tip of Haiti and eventually will affect southeastern Cuba. The storm will then move into the southern Bahamas before taking a turn toward the northwest toward the central and northern Bahamas and south Florida by Thursday
Forecast tracks have been shifting west over the past day or so, with an increasing threat to the Florida East Coast, Georgia, South and North Carolina. All of the models have shown this trend toward the west as they are now picking up on a stronger Atlantic high pressure ridge, which is steering the storm farther west.
Matthew is expected to track northwest either near the coast or just inland across the East Coast from near West Palm or Port St. Lucie into north Florida. Depending on the angle at which it moves inland, parts of southwest Florida could feel the effects from the storm, in the form of increased rain chances and strong winds. As it stands now, the strongest winds will be felt across eastern Glades and Hendry Co. where strong tropical storm force winds will be possible for areas such as Buckhead Ridge and Clewiston.
Farther west, due to the size of the wind field associated with Matthew, tropical storm force winds will be possible as far west as eastern Charlotte, Lee and Collier Co. especially with a track closer to the coast. Tornadoes should not be an issue for SWFL with the track being east of our area.
The worst of the weather is expected Thursday with improving conditions by Friday as the storm moves away. Drier air on the back side of the storm will bring in lower humidity for the weekend, meaning plenty of sunshine and more comfortable humidity levels for this weekend.