Matthew inching closer, chance of flooding upgraded

After being upgraded to a category 4 hurricane Thursday, Matthew continues his slow crawl toward the Carolina coast.

The National Hurricane Center updated its track to project a likely southward turn and a possible turn back to the east, resulting in a loop similar to Hurricane Erin in 1995 or Hurricane Fay in 2008. Also coming into play is Hurricane Nicole, upgraded Thursday from a tropical depression and located north of the Bahamas and moving northwest.

Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Wilmington updated its predicted flood impact from moderate to extreme from Matthew. The NWS is now expecting moderate impacts from wind and surge and extreme flooding, along with an elevated risk of tornadoes.

Additionally, the probability for tropical storm or hurricane force winds continues to increase, according to the NWS. Probability for Bladen County to experience tropical storm or hurricane force winds increased to around 40 percent. At this point, maximum wind gusts are expected to be 43 miles per hour.

Matthew is expected to track just off the South Carolina coast, passing south of Cape Fear during Saturday and into Saturday night, with the closest approach Saturday night. Confidence in the projected track continues to increase.

Bladen County is under a Flash Flood watch, with the NWS predicting a 40 percent chance of minor flooding of the Cape Fear River in Elizabethtown and 30 percent probability of flooding at William OHuske Lock and Dam. Rainfall totals are expected to be between 6 and 8 inches in Bladen County, with more than 10 inches along the coast.

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