CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Hurricane Matthew lashing Florida... next up, the Carolinas!
The early morning trend of Hurricane Matthew has the storm rolling northwestward at 13mph, riding up the east coast of Florida, barely 20 miles offshore. While that may be slightly good news - most of the hurricane force winds are just offshore, Tropical Storm conditions have been lashing the Florida peninsula for many hours and hundreds of thousands of power outages are already being reported.
The latest official National Hurricane Center (NHC) track keeps the eye of the storm barely offshore of Florida's east coast, and it remains that way as the storm rolls up the Georgia coast through early Saturday.
In advance, spotty, mostly light rain will fall across the WBTV area today, with heavy and sustained rain falling tonight and through at least the first half of the day Saturday. As such, rainfall totals will be in the 1" - 2" range across the mountains and foothills, with 1" – 3"+ possible from Charlotte/Mecklenburg into Union County, with 3" – 6" of rain becoming more likely just to the east. In short, a very tight gradient! A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for all counties south and east of Mecklenburg through early Sunday.
In terms of wind, that will also be an issue on Saturday as we expect sustained winds of 20 – 30mph 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 – 45mph causing some larger limbs to snap and scattered power outages.
If you live in a flood prone area east of Charlotte, take preparations now to protect life and property and stay alert!
- Meteorologist Al Conklin