Hurricane Matthew sweeps across Atlantic

by Dylan Lasher

Graphics Editor

After destroying large areas in Haiti in early October, the hurricane named Hurricane Matthew headed towards the south coasts of the United States. The storm  was formed from a tropical wave that came from the coasts of Africa back in September. A few days after ravaging the Bahamas and Haiti, the storm moved very close to the coasts Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The first official landfall of the storm occurred on Oct. 8, in South Carolina. The categorizing of hurricanes due to their winds determined Matthew was category 1, due to 75 mph winds.

In Florida, water levels were reported at two and a half feet above ground level, and the storm surge was over nine feet. The St. Johns River in the northeastern part of Florida, at Shands Bridge reached record heights, with 3 to a little over 4 feet of storm surge level increase reported at the Racy Point, Red Bay Point and I-295 bridge tide gauges. Early on Oct. 8, the St. Johns River was reported to be flowing backwards.

In Georgia, the storm surge was under eight feet, and the tides broke the 1979 record for highest high tide with a recorded 12.57 ft. The low tide was over 12 and a half feet over normal low tide, recorded two hours after high tide.

Near Georgetown, South Carolina, tides were five feet above normal. In the southern part of North Carolina, the levels of the Cape Fear River shattered the record from the effects of Hurricane Hazel in 1954 by numerous feet.

Hurricane Matthew’s death toll reached 43 across the states, with the majority of deaths from North Carolina. Communities all along the eastern seaboard have had problems with beach erosion, intense and lasting flooding, as well as electrical blackouts.

More recently, another second hurricane, Hurricane Nicole, has struck the Bermudas, and is riding on the heels of the past Hurricane Matthew. These twin atlantic hurricanes are a rare occurrence and, especially after a few years of relatively little hurricane activity, are a sign that bad stormy weather is coming across the globe if the La Niña conditions continue to grow in the wake of the past year’s El Niño, according to weather experts.
(Sources: weather.com, LiveScience)

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