Deadly Hurricane Matthew breaks several Atlantic Basin records
To date, Hurricane Matthew has claimed over 1,000 lives—21 in the United States, most in Haiti. According to financial experts, the damages will total between $4-6 billion making it one of the 20 costliest storms in U.S. history. After devastating Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and parts of the Southeastern United States, the storm leaves behind a meteorological legacy that puts Matthew on the shortlist to have its name retired from Atlantic Basin usage.
The system was designated an invest by the National Hurricane Center on Sept. 22, just south of the Cabo Verde Islands. Hurricane Hunters found a closed circulation, with Matthew being named on Sept. 28.
Hurricane Matthew achieved Category 5 status little more than a day after being classified as a hurricane. Winds intensified by 80mph in 24 hours—the third strongest rapid intensification in the Atlantic Basin on record, behind Wilma (2005) and Felix (2007). Matthew was the 31st Category 5 Hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin and the first since Felix. Matthew was also the lowest latitude (farthest south) Category 5 on record in the Atlantic Basin.
Hurricane Matthew was the longest lived Category 4-5 Hurricane and generated more accumulated cyclone energy in the Eastern Caribbean Sea than any other storm on record. The storm maintained Category 4-5 Hurricane strength for 102 hours in Oct.—the longest such stretch on record for an Atlantic Basin storm in October. Additionally, Matthew maintained major hurricane strength for over seven days –the longest lived major hurricane forming after Sept. 25.
Hurricane Matthew was the first Category 4 or stronger storm to make landfall in Haiti since Cleo (1964). It was the first storm on record that made landfall in Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas. Matthew was also the first hurricane to make landfall north of Ga. in Oct. since Hazel (1954).
After producing signficant flash and river flooding in the Carolinas, Matthew moved out to sea and dissipated on October 9. All fatality and damages estimates are preliminary.
*Data courtesy—Philip Klotzbach, Hurricane Expert at Colorado State University
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