By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
October 5, 2016; 6:05 AM ET
Dangerous Hurricane Matthew will set its sights on the Bahamas after forcing thousands to evacuate in the Caribbean.
After weaving through the Windward Passage between Haiti and Cuba on Tuesday and Tuesday night, Matthew will turn northwestward across the Bahamas through Thursday.
“Some fluctuation in strength will occur with Matthew as the hurricane is influenced by the mountainous islands of Hispaniola and Cuba in the short-term and lthen less-favorable atmospheric conditions over the northern Bahamas later on,” AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.
“Matthew remains a very dangerous hurricane,” he said.
Matthew made its first landfall on the Haiti Tiburon Peninsula during Tuesday morning, before making a second landfall on the eastern tip of Cuba during Tuesday evening.
From Haiti to the eastern tip of Cuba, the threat for flooding rainfall, mudslides, destructive winds and dangerous surf will gradually lessen as Matthew moves northwestward into Thursday.
Matthew has already been responsible for a number of fatalities across the Caribbean, according to the Associated Press.
“The Bahamas are likely to be in the direct path of Matthew from Wednesday into Friday,” Kottlowski said.
The Turks and Caicos will also face significant impacts by the hurricane as it passes to their west.
The slow-moving nature of the hurricane will translate to days rather than hours of pounding surf, high winds and heavy rain on the Bahamas.
In addition to life-threatening conditions, major property damage and inundation is likely due to powerful winds, storm surge and flash flooding.
“A storm surge of 10-15 feet can occur, along with the potential for a foot or more of rain on some of the Bahamas,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Mike Doll said.
People are encouraged to heed evacuation orders as they are given. Small craft should be secured in port.
Travel disruptions will also occur in the region.
Cruise, freight and charter airline interests should be prepared to change itineraries until the storm has passed. Commercial airline delays and cancellations are likely as the storm approaches. Some airports will close.
In the wake of the storm, many of these areas will be in need of assistance. Power may be out for days. Food, fresh water and medical items may be in short supply.
Seas and surf along the coast of the southeastern United States will build and become dangerous later this week. How serious wind, rain and and flooding become this weekend in the U.S. will depend on the path Matthew takes.