Hurricane Matthew has been downgraded to a Category 2 strength hurricane. Currently the rotational wind speed has gone down from 120 mph earlier today to about 110 mph, while its movement has slowed from 14 mph last night to a fairly steady 12 mph today. Currently it’s about 50 miles east-southeast of St. Simons Island, Georgia.
In its wake, it has left devastation in Haiti, Bermuda, Cuba, and other Caribbean nations. In the state of Florida, currently 1 million are without power to their homes. Over 23,000 people are in shelters in over 180 locations. Some sources are reporting numbers as high as 850 dead in Haiti, while others are reporting lower numbers closer to 300. GR3 is awaiting further reports and assessments from our partner, World Vision, who is on the ground in Haiti.
At 800 PM EDT (0000 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located near latitude 30.7 North, longitude 80.6 West. Matthew is moving toward the north near 12 mph (19 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue tonight. A turn toward the north-northeast and then to the northeast is expected on Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will continue to move near or over the coast of northeast Florida and Georgia through tonight, and near or over the coast of South Carolina on Saturday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher gusts. Although weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Matthew is expected to remain a hurricane until it begins to move away from the southeastern United States on Sunday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km). A private weather station at Folly Beach, South Carolina, recently reported a wind gust of 68 mph (107 km/h). In addition, during the last two hours there have been multiple reports of wind gusts of 60-65 mph (97-105 km/h) in the Jacksonville metropolitan area.
The minimum central pressure recently reported by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter Reserve aircraft was 948 mb (28.00 inches).
Support is needed in order to provide food, water, clothing, and medical supplies to people in Florida. Further updates to follow.