Meteorologists are still uncertain if Hurricane Matthew will break the U.S.’ 10-year record hiatus from category 3 hurricanes. But the days of waiting will soon be over.
Weather Underground website director of meteorology Jeff Masters said that Hurricane Matthew could develop into a superstorm that could alter decades of luck experienced by the U.S.
For some 10 years, the country has been very fortunate for having been spared of super, category 3 hurricanes.
It may be recalled that in October 2005, Hurricane Wilma brought devastation to Key West Florida. This super hurricane with 120 mph of strong winds was the last recorded category 3 hurricane to hit the U.S.
Since 1851, U.S. agencies have begun monitoring and recording hurricanes lambasting the country. The current 10-year “hiatus” from major hurricanes is the longest ever experienced. Hurricanes with wind speeds of 111 to 130 mph are referred to as Category 3 hurricanes.
Another unforgettable storm, Hurricane Ike lashed at Texas in 2008. While it is technically below Category 3, it had a serious impact on Texans as many were caught unprepared. Another strong but below-Category 3 storm, Hurricane Sandy also brought devastation in New Jersey back in 2012.
Many remain haunted by the August 2005 Hurricane Katrina. One of the costliest category 3 hurricane to hit the U.S. The cost of damage reached US$108 million.
Masters attribute the superstorm “hiatus” largely to plain luck. Ocean currents were not as turbulent and storms have recurved preventing a direct hit.
This year, however, lady luck may be far from the U.S. side as Hurricane Matthew is expected to cruise along U.S. southeast coasts of Florida and Carolina by Thursday morning.
It began as a rainstorm near the Caribbean Sea last week but developed into a storm with winds at 160 mph. It is expected to pass through the island chain Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba.
There is no certainty yet if it will make a direct hit on the U.S. in the coming days as it will depend on which track (east or west) the storm would take. Forecasters, however, warned to expect storm surges of up to 7 feet.
If Hurricane Matthew will make a direct hit with a category 3 strength, the record will have been broken. Here’s to hoping it won’t.