DISCUSSION: Over the past 24 to 48 hours, Hurricane Matthew has undergone some significant structural changes. The bulk of these changes were a consequence of Matthew's circulation running across far western parts of Haiti. Due to the fact that the island of Haiti has a substantial amount of more mountainous terrain (including in areas where part of Matthew moved across), this acted to somewhat disrupt the structural integrity but surprisingly not the strength of this tropical cyclone. Prior to Matthew making its first landfall across far western Haiti, it has maximum sustained winds of 145 mph. However, upon re-entering the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea (i.e., between western Haiti and eastern Cuba), it still has maximum sustained winds of 145 mph with a pressure rise of 9 mb (i.e., from 940 mb to 949 mb). Thus, despite a lower intensity with respect to the lowest minimum central pressure, the storm miraculously maintained its strength despite experiencing a rise in the minimum central pressure.
That being said, in looking at the animated graphic below, you can clearly see the gorgeous symmetry associated with the animated microwave imagery focused on Hurricane Matthew. As noted in both the still image (above) and the animated graphic (below), the various banded colors which extend around the periphery of Matthew's circulation represent the brightness temperature in degrees Kelvin. Thus, you can see how cold the cloud-top temperatures (as denoted by the aforementioned brightness temperatures) have been throughout the course of Matthew's evolution thus far. Also, note how the eye widened after the first landfall in Haiti which was likely a result of the tightly-wrapped circulation becoming broader and then re-tightening at a larger radius due to the inherent effects of the terrain on the circulation of Matthew!
To learn more about other high-impact tropical cyclone-based weather events from around the world, be sure to click here!
~Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz