Posted: 4:57 pm Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
By Eliot Kleinberg
Interactive tracking map
Maybe. Could be. Just a heads up. Just letting you know.
The National Hurricane Center’s early forecast cones show Tropical Storm Matthew on a steady march toward Central America and becoming the season’s seventh hurricane by Sunday morning.
Some time Sunday, the forecast track suggests, it makes an ominous right turn. As in toward Florida.
In case you weren’t here in 2005, that storm bounced off the Yucatan and struck Florida south of Naples on Oct. 24, then swung up the southeast coast, causing $16.8 billion in damage in southern Florida alone.
Matthew’s forecast path also brings back memories of a 1950 storm named King. Born along the Yucatan, it made a big sweep over Cuba and came up southeast Florida, riding up the center of the peninsula.
Now that we’ve scared the heck out of you, here’s the reality, courtesy of National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen:
“You’ve got nearly 300 miles on either side of that skinny black line,” he said today.
That means the difference between the storm, as it comes off the Yucatan, aiming at Houston and aiming at Portugal.
This is one of those times of uncertainty during the hurricane season when the potential is there, and, although the storm could miss us for a hundred reasons, or fizzle before it ever becomes a threat, we need to be cognizant of its potential.
Feltgen: “Folks in Florida need to be paying attention to it. But there’s a lot of uncertainty in the forecast now.”
Another caveat: even if it aimed right at South Florida, it wouldn’t be an issue until middle or even late next week, unless it dramatically accelerates.
That should give you plenty of time to do all things you were supposed to have done in May. The worst that happens is you’ll be ready for next year.