Discussion: The National Hurricane Center based in Miami, Florida has officially classified Hurricane Matthew as a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. Hurricane force winds extend up to 45 miles out from the center of the storm and tropical storm force winds approximately 200 miles from the center. This is the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin since Hurricane Felix in 2007.
As of 2 am EDT, Matthew has a minimum central pressure of 941 mb, which is significantly lower than it’s pressure reading from this afternoon of 960 mb. This indicates a rapid intensification and strengthening. The island of Jamaica is currently under a hurricane watch, and tropical storm warnings are in effect for Colombia and Venezuela. A tropical storm watch has also been issued for the island of Haiti. As Matthew moves to the northwest and eventually north, the islands of the Caribbean will be needing to keep a very close eye on this storm and begin making preparations now.
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz