Hurricane Matthew to Blast East Coast With Swell, Potential Destruction

The track. Epic to some (Florida), terrifying to others (OBX). Photo: NOAA

As prophesized by us, but realistically just stolen from NOAA, in late August, the Lake Atlantic has been extremely lively during the backend of hurricane season 2016.

Hurricane Hermine brought stupendous surf to the majority of the east coast, while Karl brought fun-sized swell, and a recent run of Northeast energy has churned up some more brown beauties to many Atlantic states. But it is Hurricane Matthew, presently blasting away in the Caribbean, that looks to be the real behemoth of 2016.

Currently a Cat 4 major hurricane, Matthew resides in the Caribbean Sea, safely spinning between Venezuela and the western Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba. According to most charts, these islands look to take a direct hit within the next 24-48 hours. Matthew is likely to remain a major hurricane as it moves over the Caribbean landmasses and continues its path through the Bahamas. By Thursday it will be longitudinally aligned with Florida, but will probably be far enough east to not cause too many issues for the Sunshine State. In fact, through the Florida portion of its track, Matthew may take an extremely similar path to Hurricane Sandy, but with slightly more force. Sandy, if you don’t recall, brought Florida some of the greatest waves it has ever experienced, before bringing death and destruction to the northeastern part of the country.

Remember this? Video: Colorblind Media

While Floridians are excited, Carolinians are not. Due to the shape of the United States’ eastern seaboard, the Outer Banks of North Carolina oftentimes get the worst of hurricane destruction. On its current path, Matthew looks to seriously threaten the thin strip of land that thousands call home. In some parts of the region, the sound and ocean are separated by a mere 100 feet of sand, meaning that flooding can cause severe issues for the Outer Banks. After a bad storm, locals can expect to go days, even weeks without the ability to leave their part of the island. And if their house goes underwater or gets blown away, this can lead to devastating consequences, death not excluded. We send our sincere well-wishes to those on the OBX.

Now, New Jersey and New York. Current models have Matthew reaching this region over the weekend, and as of now, it looks to take a relatively safe course for these Northeast states. It’s too far out to know for sure, but conditions look fairly promising for New York as the storm approaches, and New Jersey as the storm passes. The Garden State generally has a hard time handling swells with significant period, as their coastline is very straight and has no way to break up the longer interval waves. With Matthew, the storm will likely be close enough to create short-interval waves, which, when the wind switches offshore, will turn into groomed, A-framey perfection. New York on the other hand doesn’t mind a little period, so as the storm approaches and sends waves from a decent distance, they could see some great conditions — so long as the wind pulls towards the heart of the storm.

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New York during the last proper hurricane swell, Hermine. Photo: Nelson.

As always, these swells are extremely temperamental and tend to stray from scientific projections. It seems, however, that Matthew is likely to send waves, destruction, or a combination of the two to much of the east coast. Jimmicane is currently chasing this beast alongside Dylan Graves, Dillon Perillo, and several other chargers along the way. Stay tuned for realtime content.

A taste of what the boys have found thus far. Photo: Jimmicane