FIRST ALERT WEATHER: Hurricane Matthew continues north, evacuations called for coastal SC

Hurricane Matthew continues trek north, evacuations called for coastal SC

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Hurricane Matthew is continuing its trek north as the Lowcountry braces for possible impacts.

The late Tuesday night update has the eye of the hurricane near latitude 20.4 North, longitude 74.4 West. Matthew is moving toward the north near 8 mph.

It's currently on the southern tip of eastern Cuba making its way north.

A turn toward the north-northwest is expected by Wednesday, followed by a northwest turn Wednesday night.

As for the South Carolina coast, we are not expecting any type of impacts from Matthew for the next two days. The Tuesday night models show Matthew pushing up along the southeast coast by the end of the week.

Live 5 Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh said the question is how close to the coast Matthew will get.

Matthew is projected to be off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida on Friday afternoon as a Category 3 hurricane. It's then expected to slowly weaken into a Category 2 storm as it nears South Carolina and takes a turn towards the northeast.

The Lowcountry will be feeling the impact of Matthew Friday night into Saturday as the hurricane slowly moves out of the area.

Due to a number of variables, a trough to the west of us and a ridge in the Atlantic, the models do not show the exact magnitude of the storm or how close Matthew will get to the South Carolina coast.

Potential effects for the Lowcountry include hurricane force winds on the coast, heavy surf and beach erosion, storm surges of 3 to 5 feet and 4 to 8 inches of rainfall. Power outages are also expected as early as Friday afternoon.

You can find evacuation information here. 

Portions of Florida are under hurricane and tropical storm watches as the eye of Hurricane Matthew moves toward Eastern Cuba as a Category 4 storm.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect from Deerfield Beach, Florida to the Volusia/Brevard county line has been extended southward to Golden Beach.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys northward to south of Deerfield Beach, including Lake Okeechobee.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 140 mph, keeping it as a Category 4 storm.

A Category 4 hurricane has maximum sustained winds of between 131 and 156 miles per hour.

Forecast track calls for northward turn by Wednesday

Matthew is expected to move near or over portions of the southeastern and central Bahamas Tuesday night and Wednesday, and approach the northwestern Bahamas Wednesday night.

In addition to watches in Florida, the following watches and warnings remain:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Haiti, Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma, and Las Tunas; the Southeastern Bahamas, including the Inaguas, Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, and Ragged Island; the Central Bahamas, including Long Island, Exuma, Rum Cay, San Salvador, and Cat Island; the Northwestern Bahamas, including the Abacos, Andros Island, Berry Islands, Bimini, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island, and New Providence.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Cuban province of Camaguey.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Barahona westward to the border with Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Puerto Plata westward to the border with Haiti.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Nicole forms in the Atlantic

At 11 a.m., the center of Tropical Storm Nicole was located near latitude 23.8 North, longitude 60.4 West, about 525 miles northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Nicole is moving toward the northwest near 8 mph and a turn toward the north-northwest with a decrease in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days.

Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast for the next day or so, followed by gradual weakening.

Nicole is not presently a threat, Meteorologist Joey Sovine said.

The rest of the week

Look for cloudy skies Tuesday and Wednesday with a small chance of showers.

A 30 percent chance of rain with breezy conditions is expected Thursday.

After that, weather conditions will depend on where Matthew will turn.

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