Hurricane Matthew Travel Alert Updates: East Coast of the United States to Feel Impact

I f the Bahamas or most of the east coast of the United States are in your travel plans over the next several days, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather.

Travel to western Haiti is not advised at this time, as many homes have been damaged or destroyed; and some portions of the country may have experienced as much as 40 inches of rain. Six deaths in three countries have already been attributed to Hurricane Matthew. Reports from multiple sources suggest that the impact of Hurricane Matthew on Haiti — which endured the more dangerous eastern side of the storm — might result in another devastating humanitarian disaster; but it is too early to tell at this time.

Hurricane Matthew Travel Alert Updates: East Coast of the United States to Feel Impact

Hurricane Matthew 2016

The eye of Hurricane Matthew is currently over the eastern tip of Cuba, as outlined with a thin purple line. Jamaica, Haiti and the Bahamas are also outlined with thin purple lines. Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

The maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Matthew have decreased from 140 miles per hour to 130 miles per hour; but because its forward motion is progressing at only nine miles per hour to the north, its effects are pronounced — meaning more time for torrential rains which are causing catastrophic flooding, longer periods of damaging winds, and rougher surf pounding coastlines.

Had Hurricane Matthew tracked further west across Cuba, the mountainous terrain would have significantly weakened the storm — but because landfall is currently occurring near the easternmost tip of Cuba, Matthew is expected to remain a Category 4 hurricane.

Another factor is that there are no fronts in the immediate vicinity to steer the storm away from the United States. I studied various weather maps and found only two fronts: one is out over the Atlantic Ocean where the tail end will miss Hurricane Matthew when it nears the southeastern coast of the United States; and the other is over the middle of the country and too far away to intercept and affect the forward motion of the hurricane before it approaches the United States. That front may intercept the storm later in the week.

What this means is that Hurricane Matthew is expected to approach closer to the east coast of the United States as a Category 3 hurricane and not weaker and further away as originally forecast; and that means weather alerts and states of emergencies have been issued for several states — including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina — due to the distinct possibility of surging seas, locally damaging winds, flooding rains, beach erosion, strong rip currents and rough surf.

There is also a possibility that the outer banks of North Carolina might experience a landfall of Hurricane Matthew over this coming weekend.

The remainder of the east coast of the United States — all the way to the easternmost tip of Maine — is expected to experience high winds and flooding due to heavy rains, which could delay or even cancel flights.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to anywhere in the Bahamas or the entire east coast of the United States over the next week or so, expect delays and cancellations. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to these tropical systems which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight will most likely be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions and traffic problems.

Here are seven airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of Hurricane Matthew:


As you can see, the aforementioned alerts widely vary by airline; so be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

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