Despite Downgrade to Category 1, Hurricane Matthew a Very Potent System


Early Saturday morning, Hurricane Matthew was continuing to spin up trouble along the southeastern seaboard, this time just off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. By the 8 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Matthew had been downgraded to a Category 1 with sustained winds at 75 mph. The category system, the Saffir-Simpson scale, is solely based off of wind speed and estimates potential property damage.

Even though Hurricane Matthew was reduced to a Category 1 hurricane, it is still a very potent system creating dangerous levels of storm surge, flash flooding farther inland, damaging winds and even spawning tornado watches and warnings into parts of North Carolina on the outer reaches of Matthew’s immediate grasp.

Looking towards Saturday evening, since Matthew is moving northeast at 12 mph and is anticipated to finally move off the coast of North Carolina and eastward away from the eastern seaboard by Sunday night, the duration of the heavy rainfall over the course of the day today and through this evening will create rain accumulations between 8-12” between I-95 and coastline in South Carolina / North Carolina with possible spots getting as much as 15 inches. Farther inland in South Carolina, western North Carolina and southeastern Virginia are expected to get 2-6” of rain.

Rainfall totals as of 4 a.m. Saturday, accumulated since Thursday morning, showed Georgia with at least a foot of rainfall in some spots. Charleston, South Carolina, had already received 5.51” by that time and is expected to double before Matthew exits the area. Jacksonville, Florida, now out of the grasp of Matthew received nearly 7” of rainfall.

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