LIVE UPDATES: Matthew stronger, hurricane warning area expands
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Forecasters say Hurricane Matthew has gained new muscle over the Bahamas and they are also expanding the hurricane warning area further up the Southeast Atlantic seacoast from Florida into Georgia.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the southern coast of South Carolina was under a Hurricane Warning.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg took an uncommon inhospitable approach, going against the grain of southern hospitality for which Charleston is known.
“We’re asking everyone to please, leave town,” Mayor Tecklenburg said. “It’s that time.”
Here is the bottom line on what we are expecting here in the Lowcountry:
Winds: Tropical storm force winds likely, hurricane force gusts possible along the coast
Storm Surge: Possible 4-8'
Tornado Risk: Very low
Marine: Very rough surf, high waves & dangerous rip currents
Thursday afternoon brought the news of more evacuations. Gov. Nikki Haley's office announced additional evacuations for areas in Jasper and Colleton counties. Residents and visitors in Zone B of Jasper and Colleton Counties should begin evacuating effective immediately TODAY, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6.
Conditions will be going downhill Friday through Saturday as the hurricane approaches. Rain will increase across the area and in intensity throughout the day with heavy rain by Friday night. Tropical storm force winds will begin late Friday afternoon and will continue through early Sunday with hurricane force gusts possible, especially close to the coast. Matthew is forecast to be a hurricane, probably a category 2, as it approaches our coastline...more than likely hugging it very closely. Power outages are going to be likely Friday and Saturday, so be prepared to be without electricity for at least some period of time.
It is a category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour. It's moving northwest at 14 miles per hour. It will continue on a northwesterly track very close to the east coast of Florida before turning more north hugging the Georgia and South Carolina coasts before turning east then southeast.
Hurricane Warnings are in effect for the Bahamas, the east coast of Florida, the Georgia coast, Beaufort, coastal Colleton, Berkeley and Charleston counties as well coastal waters of the Lowcountry. Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for inland Colleton and Dorchester counties. Hurricane Matthew is a still a very strong cyclone with hurricane force winds extending 60 miles out from the center and tropical storm force winds extending up to 185 miles from the center.
Hurricane Nicole is about 330 miles south of Bermuda. It's expected to meander south of Bermuda through early next week and is not a threat to land.