The late-night trend of Hurricane Matthew has the storm rolling northwestward at 13 mph, but as of midnight, Matthew has not been taking a sudden jog toward the east coast of Florida. While that may be slightly good news, the eye of the storm is still only about 40 miles offshore and tropical storm conditions have been lashing the Florida peninsula for many hours. Tens of thousands of power outages are already being reported.
The official National Hurricane Center (NHC) track issued at 11:00 p.m. keeps the eye of the storm barely offshore of Florida's east coast overnight, and it remains that way as the storm rolls up the Georgia coast through early Saturday. By then, rainfall way out ahead of the storm is expected to begin reaching the eastern half of the WBTV viewing area with heavy and sustained rain falling much of the day Saturday.
If this verifies, rainfall totals could be in the 1" – 3" range from Charlotte/Mecklenburg into Union County, with 3" – 6" of rain becoming more likely farther to the east. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Lancaster and Chesterfield counties in SC, Anson and Richmond counties in NC over the weekend.
In terms of wind, that will also be an issue on Saturday as we expect sustained winds of 20 – 30 mph around the Piedmont of North and South Carolina with higher gusts. Counties east and southeast of Charlotte can expect to see wind gusts from 35 – 45 mph causing some larger limbs to snap and scattered power outages.
See the accompanying maps for reference. If you live in a flood-prone area east of Charlotte, take preparations now to protect life and property and stay alert!