NHC: Heavy Rainfall And Strong Winds Are Beginning To Hit South Florida

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As the effects of Hurricane Matthew begins to impact the Florida coast, residents are bracing for a long day and evening.

Dr. Rick Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center, joined CBS4’s Craig Setzer to give an update on Matthew’s path and when to expect some effects from the storm.

Some of the outer bands are already reaching South Florida’s coast but according to Dr. Knabb, they don’t have the sustained winds of tropical storm force yet.

The stronger winds will come with bands that are closer to the better organized part of the hurricane.

As the day has progressed, hurricane hunters have flown into the storm to measure the strength of Matthew and Dr. Knabb is quick to point out that there can be fluctuations in what is shown in each new storm update released by the NHC.

“Don’t be surprised if there are some ups and downs in the intensity [of Hurricane Matthew] along the way,” Dr. Knabb said. “That doesn’t make me feel any better if I see the winds come down a little bit. They can come right back up. We’re talking about a major hurricane coming near the [Florida] coast and perhaps eventually on shore.”

Another thing that people should certainly be aware of is the possibility of tornadoes. During a strong storm there is always the possibility of a cyclone forming and that is especially true during a hurricane.

“There’s always the possibility of isolated tornadoes with a system approaching the shore,” Dr. Knabb explained. “It’s just another reason to stay indoors and find a safe structure to ride out the storm.”

Residents are encouraged to reach out to anyone who lives in an evacuation zone that has not yet left and strongly remind them that the time to leave is now.

“If they haven’t left yet, they’ve gotta get going now,” he said. “Time is running out fast.”

Storm surge can be a life threatening condition and should absolutely not be taken lightly.

Additionally, Dr. Knabb says that evacuating vertically is not a good idea.  Moving up to the higher floors on a tall building is asking for trouble as the winds get more severe the further away from the ground you are.

“The winds get stronger as you go up and up, higher and higher floors,” said Dr. Knabb. “If you get to the 25th floor you’ve got another category stronger on our wind scale.”

Also, if you or someone you know is leaving their home, make sure to head inland and not up or down the coast.

As for when the weather conditions are expected to begin getting really bad, Dr. Knabb expects that as the afternoon progresses the weather will continue to deteriorate.

“After lunchtime you’ll start seeing it noticeably getting worse and worse with each new band that comes in,” he said.

The worst of the weather will affect South Florida this evening, and then as the storm moves further north the backside of Matthew will continue bringing rain and wind which is expected to happen in the late evening and early Friday morning.

Just because the eye of Hurricane Matthew is going to miss South Florida, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to miss out on some extremely bad weather.

“It’s not about the center of circulation,” he explained. “Here in South Florida we’re going to be the center of action in many ways with heavy rainfall and strong winds.”

The National Hurricane Center will continue providing CBS4 live updates as the day progresses so make sure to tune in to WFOR and check back to CBSMiami.com.


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