While it’s still too far out to know definitively, some meteorologists are now saying Hurricane Matthew has the potential to make a dramatic impact on the Carolinas by the end of next week.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, the National Hurricane Center had upgraded Matthew to a Class 4 major hurricane, meaning it had wind speeds of at least 130 miles per hour. While currently slowly moving in the Atlantic Ocean off of the coasts of Venezuela and Columbia, forecasts have the major hurricane beginning a northerly path this weekend, ultimately striking Jamaica on Monday, Cuba on Tuesday and the Bahamas on Wednesday.
Past that, conflicting models make projections difficult for meteorologists, but Bernie Rayno, chief meteorologist for Accuweather, said there’s a possibility this major hurricane could be headed our way.
“If this system is faster, you’ve got to worry about the entire length of the east coast. If it’s slower, it’s more or less the Carolinas, and not New England,” said Rayno. “Which is correct, I’m not yet sure.”
Sumter has been minimally impacted during this year’s hurricane season, although the remnants Hurricane Hermine caused power outages and some flooding for Sumter County residents earlier this month.
Whichever direction Matthew ends up traveling, forecasters say most models agree the major storm will at least result in rough surf and large swells for the Carolina coastline next week.