Even though Matthew eventually made landfall in
Here are some questions and answers about Matthew's path that one meteorologist likened to threading a needle:
Q: How close a call was it for
A: Just a 50 mile shift to the west, or even 20 or 30 miles, during the time it glided north along the coastline meant the difference between a storm that now looks like it will end up causing several billion dollars in damage and one costing
"People got incredibly lucky," Klotzbach said. "It was a super close call."
"Thankfully it was a tight enough storm that 50 miles made a pretty big difference from a wind perspective," Klotzbach said.
Still the storm surge was bad, especially in
And as lucky as the track was for
"It maximized the damage in the
Q: Why did it not go into
A: Meteorologists are still trying to figure that out but the best answer may just be dumb luck with maybe an assist from Tropical Storm Nicole. Meteorologists said they will be studying to see if there is any good answer but so far they don't have one.
Hurricanes are guided by atmospheric currents not anything on the ground or in the water. And this time those air steering currents — particularly high pressure system in the western
That, Bove said, is "pretty darn unusual."
Masters said it was just plain luck, but Klotzbach said it is possible that the presence of Tropical Storm Nicole may have had a little bit of a hand in the path.
Q: So was evacuating coastal
A: Definitely not.
Even though the storm didn't make landfall in
"There was plenty of storm surge all along the coast," Bove said. "And that is deadly and unfortunately people really underestimate what storm surge can do."
Klotzbach said people in
A: Oh yes. Data is still coming in, but it set all sorts of records so far.
Most notably Matthew goes down as one of the most potent and long-living major hurricanes — not at landfall but just spinning in the
One key meteorological measurement of a storm — Accumulated Cyclone Energy or ACE — looks at total energy based on how long a storm lasts and its wind strength over a lifetime. It's based on measurements every six hours. In the post 1966 era of monitoring, Matthew ranks eighth among
And Matthew was a major hurricane — with winds of at least 110 mph — for 7.25 days, ending Friday. That makes it tied for fifth longest time as a major hurricane of the satellite era and the longest ever for a late season storm, Klotzbach said.
It also had the seventh lowest barometric pressure for storms making landfall in