Hurricane Matthew was by far the worst hurricane of the season, having devastated parts of the Caribbean and the US east coast as a category 4 and 3 hurricane, respectively. Matthew was the first Atlantic hurricane officially since Felix in 2007, and the first since 2015's Joaquin in my records.
The origins of Matthew can be traced back to a tropical wave that emerged from the coast of Africa on September 23. Moving quickly westwards, the wave failed to gain a closed low level circulation, mainly due to its rapid movement, besides producing winds up to 60 mph. After a recon aircraft finally was able to confirm the existence of a closed low level circulation around 1200 UTC on September 28, the system was classified as Tropical Storm Matthew, having skipped tropical depression status completely. Situated under a ridge, Matthew had an anomalously high pressure of 1009 mbar at this time.
By 1800 UTC on September 29, as Matthew was nearing the southern Lesser Antilles, an aircraft was able to confirm that Matthew had become a hurricane, besides having its circulation exposed at the time. From here, Matthew began an exceptional rapid intensification period, which brought it to its peak intensity of 165 mph, a category 5 hurricane, by 0000 UTC on October 1. During this time, forecasters noted a cluster of very intense thunderstorms, likely supercellular in origin organised into a band to the east of the cyclones center of circulation. This "blob" feature hasnt yet been explained, and its exact role in the sudden rapid deepening of Matthew remains uncertain as a result.
Matthew at this time was located at 13.4N, making it the southernmost category 5 Atlantic hurricane since reliable records began in 1851. Continuing to stall, the hurricane weakened to a high end category 4 hurricane as it began an eyewall replacement cycle. Around this time, Matthew rounded the edge of the ridge it was located under, and began to move north with increased speed, before reaching a secondary peak intensity of 155 mph and an estimated pressure of 932 mbar as it made landfall in Haiti on October 4. In Haiti, devastating flooding and storm surge, combined with the hurricanes 150 mph winds, killed at least 546 people, though this total could be as high as 1600, as the bodies have never been found. Economic damages from Matthew in Haiti were around $1.9 billion, making it the costliest tropical cyclone in the area on record. Matthew was also the first category 4 hurricane to strike the island nation since Hurricane Leo in 1964.
After passing over Haiti, Matthew hit Cuba several hours later as a low end category 4, before emerging into the Atlantic with an estimated intensity at high end category 3 intensity, before encountering a complex ridge setup and heading towards Florida on October 5. In Cuba, Matthew was held accountable for 4 deaths, and $2.86 billion, making it the second costliest hurricane for the region after Ike in 2008. During October 6, Matthew devastated most of the Bahamas, especially in areas hit by Joaquin the year before. During this time, it is estimated that Matthew ranged from a high end category 3 to a mid range category 4. Heavy storm surge damage was noted in the low lying areas, and $600 million was done in damages. Remarkably, no deaths were reported during the passage of Matthew in the Bahamas.
During October 7, Matthew devastated the Atlantic coast of Florida, with the center of the eye passing about 12 miles offshore. During this time, it is estimated that Matthew brought sustained category 3 hurricane conditions to the coast for several hours, completely demolishing roads and buildings within the region effected by the eyewall of the violent passage of the storm. During October 8, Matthew weakened rapidly as it approached its landfall in South Carolina as a mid range category 1 hurricane, making landfall with 80 mph winds late on October 8. After landfall, Matthew began an extratropical transition as it interacted with a frontal zone to its northeast, and it is estimated that Matthew became a powerful hurricane force extratropical cyclone around 0600 UTC on October 9, before being absorbed into the other system later that day as it moved away from the coast. In total, Matthew killed 47 people in the US, mainly in Florida. In addition to this, Matthew also caused about $10 billion in damages in the US during its passage.
In all, Matthew caused about $15.09 billion in damages, and at least 603 deaths, though this could be as high as 1673, as most of the dead bodies in Haiti were never found. The name Matthew was retired during the spring of 2017, and replaced with Martin for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.
|SSHWS category||1-min winds||Pressure||Location||Date and time||ACE generated|
|Tropical Storm||60 mph||1009 mbar||13.4N, 59.8W||28/09/2016 1200 UTC||0.2500|
|Tropical Storm||60 mph||1008 mbar||13.6N, 61.2W||28/09/2016 1800 UTC||0.2500|
|Tropical Storm||65 mph||1004 mbar||13.9N, 62.6W||29/09/2016 0000 UTC||0.3025|
|Tropical Storm||65 mph||1002 mbar||14.0N, 64.0W||29/09/2016 0600 UTC||0.3025|
|Tropical Storm||70 mph||995 mbar||14.1N, 65.5W||29/09/2016 1200 UTC||0.3600|
|Category 1 hurricane||75 mph||993 mbar||14.2N, 66.9W||29/09/2016 1800 UTC||0.4225|
|Category 1 hurricane||80 mph||987 mbar||14.2N, 68.1W||30/09/2016 0000 UTC||0.4900|
|Category 2 hurricane||100 mph||979 mbar||14.0N, 69.3W||30/09/2016 0600 UTC||0.7225|
|Category 3 hurricane||115 mph||987 mbar||13.8N, 70.4W||30/09/2016 1200 UTC||1.0000|
|Category 4 hurricane||140 mph||955 mbar||13.5N, 71.2W||30/09/2016 1800 UTC||1.4400|
|Category 5 hurricane||165 mph||940 mbar||13.4N, 71.9W||01/10/2016 0000 UTC||2.1025|
|Category 5 hurricane||160 mph||942 mbar||13.4N, 72.5W||01/10/2016 0600 UTC||1.9600|
|Category 4 hurricane||155 mph||944 mbar||13.4N, 73.1W||01/10/2016 1200 UTC||1.8225|
|Category 4 hurricane||150 mph||942 mbar||13.4N, 73.3W||01/10/2016 1800 UTC||1.6900|
|Category 4 hurricane||155 mph||940 mbar||13.5N, 73.5W||02/10/2016 0000 UTC||1.8225|
|Category 4 hurricane||150 mph||941 mbar||13.7N, 73.9W||02/10/2016 0600 UTC||1.6900|
|Category 4 hurricane||150 mph||947 mbar||14.0N, 74.3W||02/10/2016 1200 UTC||1.6900|
|Category 4 hurricane||155 mph||945 mbar||14.2N, 74.7W||02/10/2016 1800 UTC||1.8225|
|Category 4 hurricane||145 mph||944 mbar||14.5N, 75.0W||03/10/2016 0000 UTC||1.5625|
|Category 4 hurricane||145 mph||942 mbar||14.9N, 75.0W||03/10/2016 0600 UTC||1.5625|
|Category 4 hurricane||140 mph||941 mbar||15.4N, 75.0W||03/10/2016 1200 UTC||1.4400|
|Category 4 hurricane||150 mph||938 mbar||15.9N, 74.9W||03/10/2016 1800 UTC||1.6900|
|Category 4 hurricane||155 mph||934 mbar||16.6N, 74.6W||04/10/2016 0000 UTC||1.8225|
|Category 4 hurricane||155 mph||932 mbar||17.5N, 74.4W||04/10/2016 0600 UTC||1.8225|
|Category 4 hurricane||145 mph||937 mbar||18.4N, 74.3W||04/10/2016 1200 UTC||1.5625|
|Category 4 hurricane||130 mph||947 mbar||19.3N, 74.3W||04/10/2016 1800 UTC||1.3225|
|Category 3 hurricane||125 mph||949 mbar||20.1N, 74.4W||05/10/2016 0000 UTC||1.2100|
|Category 3 hurricane||120 mph||960 mbar||20.7N, 74.4W||05/10/2016 0600 UTC||1.0025|
|Category 3 hurricane||115 mph||962 mbar||21.4N, 74.8W||05/10/2016 1200 UTC||1.0000|
|Category 3 hurricane||115 mph||963 mbar||22.2N, 75.4W||05/10/2016 1800 UTC||1.0000|
|Category 3 hurricane||120 mph||960 mbar||23.0N, 76.0W||06/10/2016 0000 UTC||1.0025|
|Category 3 hurricane||125 mph||952 mbar||23.8N, 76.7W||06/10/2016 0600 UTC||1.2100|
|Category 4 hurricane||140 mph||937 mbar||24.7N, 77.5W||06/10/2016 1200 UTC||1.4400|
|Category 4 hurricane||140 mph||937 mbar||25.7N, 78.3W||06/10/2016 1800 UTC||1.4400|
|Category 4 hurricane||130 mph||937 mbar||26.7N, 79.0W||07/10/2016 0000 UTC||1.3225|
|Category 3 hurricane||125 mph||939 mbar||27.7N, 79.7W||07/10/2016 0600 UTC||1.2100|
|Category 3 hurricane||120 mph||944 mbar||28.9N, 80.3W||07/10/2016 1200 UTC||1.0025|
|Category 3 hurricane||115 mph||936 mbar||29.7N, 80.7W||07/10/2016 1800 UTC||1.0000|
|Category 2 hurricane||110 mph||949 mbar||30.7N, 80.6W||08/10/2016 0000 UTC||0.9025|
|Category 2 hurricane||100 mph||953 mbar||31.6N, 80.6W||08/10/2016 0600 UTC||0.7225|
|Category 1 hurricane||90 mph||963 mbar||32.5N, 79.9W||08/10/2016 1200 UTC||0.6400|
|Category 1 hurricane||80 mph||973 mbar||33.5N, 79.0W||08/10/2016 1800 UTC||0.4900|
|Category 1 hurricane||80 mph||973 mbar||33.5N, 79.0W||08/10/2016 1200 UTC||0.4900|
|Category 1 hurricane||80 mph||981 mbar||33.9N, 77.3W||09/10/2016 0000 UTC||0.4900|
|Category 1 hurricane||80 mph||983 mbar||34.7N, 76.0W||09/10/2016 0600 UTC||0.4900|