There comes a time when even the most confident (read: arrogant) of meteorologists doubt their forecast. For me that time was this morning, while eating an English muffin and looking at the latest computer model runs. After saying on air and online Monday that I felt Hurricane Matthew would likely be a miss, I woke up to THIS map:
Note that all of the model tracks pass Hurricane Matthew directly over Maine....except the BAMM, and he's a well known jerk.
Gut check moment for me for sure, but I decided to stay the course and forecast a "near miss" as they like to say.
Then the afternoon model runs started coming in and there was some redemption. The trend now pushed farther east, and the EURO (my favorite, I take Instagram selfies with it) turns Matthew right around before it reaches North Carolina, giving Maine not even a stiff breeze from the tropical beast. So as of writing this blog, here is that same track map:
Pop, pop, fizz, fizz. Oh what a relief it is.
The trend is clearly more out to sea, which would bring Maine almost no impacts from Matthew. The reason behind this abrupt shift appears to be the strength of a big ridge of high pressure that will settle over Maine over the weekend. The models are now picking up this ridge as being that much more beefy, which essentially acts to block Matthew to the south. (Beefy ridge is in the blue color there)
Two Important Points:
1) This ain't over yet: Although I'm certainly encouraged by the model trend, and how it matches up with my original gut for this storm, it would be irresponsible to declare this a definite miss. This is a Major Category 4 hurricane and the stakes are very high indeed. So stay with our weather office at least until Thursday, at which point we may be able to bury this thing for good.
2) This trend is good for Maine, but very bad for the Southeast: That big blocking high may ultimately protect Maine, but it's also going to stall Matthew right over the Florida and Georgia coastlines. This could be a catastrophic event for places like Jacksonville, Savannah and Charleston, areas that are surprisingly not common spots for major hurricane landfalls.