DISCUSSION: As of the earlier 2:00 PM AST update from the National Hurricane Center (located in Miami, Florida), Tropical Storm Matthew was upgraded to Hurricane Matthew. This is shown in the top graphic attached above which was discussed on-air earlier this afternoon by NBC 6 Meteorologist Adam Berg in Miami, Florida. This decision to upgrade Matthew from tropical storm to hurricane status was made in response to reports from hurricane hunter reconnaissance aircraft of them finding a small pocket of 75 mph maximum sustained winds as well as a minimum central pressure of 993 mb. Since that earlier update at 2:00 PM AST, the more recent 5:00 PM AST update has revealed that the intensity (i.e., the minimum central pressure associated with Matthew) is still holding at 993 mb. Moreover, the maximum sustained winds have also held steady at 75 mph.
In regards to the future track and strength of Hurricane Matthew, the current situation is definitely not a simple one by any means. Over the next few days, Matthew is projected to continue heading west before gradually turning towards the northwest. As Matthew eventually makes a complete 90° turn towards the north as it rides along the western edge of a large subtropical high parked over the western/central Atlantic Ocean, island nations such as Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba will all be in the crosshairs of Matthew. Therefore, regardless of the exact track of this tropical cyclone moving forward in time, there are many people who will more than likely feel at least some impact(s) from Matthew. Be sure to stay tuned to the Global Weather and Climate Center for further updates as the status and forecast for Matthew continues to evolve!
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz