Promising trend, updated models continue to push Hurricane Matth - | WBTV Charlotte

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Promising trend, updated models continue to push Hurricane Matthew farther offshore

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Hurricane Matthew: Wednesday Morning Update

Hurricane Matthew is emerging of the NE coast of Cuba early this morning as a weakened, category 3 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph. The central pressure has not risen though and the weakening is likely due to the interaction with the high terrain of Cuba. Favorable conditions remain in place for Matthew to strengthen again - back to a Category 4 storm - as it moves northwestward away from Cuba and over the warm waters around the Bahamas later today.

The National Hurricane Center track forecast shifted slightly east again overnight, and if this verifies, it would keep the center of the hurricane off the Carolinas coast avoiding a landfall. Even 20 miles offshore would make a significant improvement in the wind conditions in the low country, but gale force and damaging winds would remain a factor.  

Of course, torrential rain and flooding along with heavy surf and beach erosion concerns would remain. The big question is simply this: Is the eastward shift of this track the beginning of a trend, or another wobble in the forecast?

Assuming the final track of Matthew does hug the Carolina coast on Saturday, which is expected to be a Category 2 Hurricane with winds around 100mph, the weather conditions across our viewing region will vary from breezy conditions west of Charlotte, to windy conditions around Charlotte, to gusty winds east of Charlotte with scattered power outages.  Rainfall will play out similarly, with little if any rain west of Charlotte, to more frequent showers possible around Charlotte, to heavier periods of rain east of Charlotte with 1" - 3" of rain more likely.  

Again, I can't emphasize this enough - all these projections are highly dependent on the final track of Matthew and can change drastically.

Until then, today looks dry and pleasant.  

- Meteorologist Al Conklin

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