Delaware keeping an eye on Hurricane Matthew

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DOVER  — Matthew’s visit to Delaware was hardly confirmed, and officials tracking it Tuesday considered several possible storm tracks during preliminary preparations.

“Hurricanes and tropical storms have minds of their own as we’ve learned in the past,” Delaware Emergency Management Agency spokesman Gary Laing said in the early afternoon.

The National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, in its Tuesday afternoon briefing said Hurricane Matthew is currently a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, located between Cuba and Haiti.

“Matthew is expected to slowly lift to the northwest tonight and pass through the Bahamas on Thursday before skirting along the east coast of Florida by Friday morning,” the forecaster said. “There is a great deal of uncertainty as to the track Matthew will take this weekend. If the storm takes more of a westerly track, and is closer to the coast, it would result in impacts that would spread farther inland, with the potential for significant impacts along the coast.

“However, if the storm takes more of an easterly track as it approaches the Carolinas and curves out to sea, then the impacts for at least western portions of the forecast would be mitigated, with limited impacts, mainly along the coast and over the waters.”

With due diligence, DEMA and other emergency response agencies were communicating Tuesday, and Mr. Laing said that a push of information on social media advised the public to at least check emergency kits and prepare for whatever might happen.

The recent heavy rain left the ground still fairly saturated, and flooding was possible in typically dry places if enough precipitation follows, according to officials.

In its Tuesday afternoon briefing, the National Weather Service said there was a 20-30 percent chance of tropical force winds over the next four days. The forecasters said that if the track remains close to the coast, the tropical force winds could come as soon as Saturday afternoon and along with it could come heavy rain.

At this point, the forecasters’ only area of high confidence is for rip currents along the Delaware beaches.

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Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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