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Prepare for Hurricane Matthew hit & aftermath

This post has been updated throughout with weather and news updates.  
The good news is that Hurricane Matthew, which was a category 5, has weakened a bit. The bad news is that it's still a very dangerous and destructive storm.

Hurricane Matthew_10-4-2016_4-15AM-CT_NOAA_NHC_GOES rainbow imag
GOES radar 4:15 a.m. Central Time, Oct. 4, via National Hurricane Center/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Click image for animated view.

Caribbean, and more, threat: Haiti is now feeling Matthew's force. The storm is expected to make landfall on that Caribbean island later this morning.

Nearly a foot of rain is expected in parts of western Haiti, Jamaica and eastern Cuba as the massive tropical system moves through. Some forecasts are even calling for up to 20 inches in the mountainous areas of Jamaica and Haiti, which could produce flash floods and mudslides.

Once Matthew moves north of the Caribbean, residents of the Bahamas and Florida, where the governor already has issued a state of emergency, should be battening their hatches.

UPDATE, Oct. 5, 2 a.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center's cone of uncertainty for Matthew's projected track has shifted westward a bit, which is not good news for Florida and states further up the Eastern Seaboard.

NHC Hurricane Matthew cone of uncertainty 2 AM ET 10-5-16

Some forecast tracks right now have this season's 18th storm eventually making another landfall in North Carolina. The Tar Heel State's governor also has already issued emergency warnings in preparation for that unwelcome possibility.  

UPDATE, Oct. 4, 3:20 p.m. ET: South Carolina's governor also is now declaring a state of emergency for her state, including evacuation orders. 

SFWMD spaghetti runs of Hurricane Matthew Oct 4 2016
South Florida Water Management District's Oct. 4 "spaghetti runs" of where Hurricane Matthew might be headed.

Get ready now: Another tiny bit of good news for planning purposes, although not for those islands in the storm's path, is that Hurricane Matthew is a slow mover.

That means you have some time to get ready. Please do so. Follow all your local officials' warnings and recommendations. If they say evacuate, leave!

And remember that a major hurricane doesn't have to make actual landfall to cause severe damage. Winds, rain, tidal surges and tornadoes are hurricane by-products that could affect residents of coastal, and even some inland, areas.

The ol' blog's special web page entitled Storm Warnings can help you get ready for and cope with Matthew. It has links to blog posts and other resources to help with storm preparation, both physical, financial and tax-wise; dealing with a storm's aftermath; and even helping those who sustain damage.

Check it out when you get a chance.

But most of all, everyone in the possible path of Hurricane Matthew, stay safe!

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