Summary of Hurricane Matthew from Patrick Prokop
I moved to Savannah in late 1980, a year after the community was hit by hurricane David (Sep 4, 1979). Hurricane Hugo past about 65 miles east of Tybee in 1989 and hurricane Floyd past a little more than 100 east of us in 1999. In Matthew's case, the eye was about 20 miles east of Tybee with the western portion of the eye-wall passing over portions of Chatham and Beaufort counties.
This page is a brief summary of my observations of hurricane Matthew from its development to when the storm was 20 miles east of the coast of Tybee when I lost my Internet connection. I have included several of my postings I made to Facebook pages (Patrick Prokop and Friends of Pat Prokop) and my website, www.savannahpat.name.
Chronology of my Facebook Postings
I was posting a lot of information on my Facebook pages as well as posting to my website. Here are several of my postings:
Facebook Postings of Patrick Prokop From September 25 to October 8, 2016
Hurricane “Matthew" developed from a strong tropical wave deep in the Atlantic in late September. I first posted on Face Book on September 25 that this would be a storm to watch carefully. (See FB graphic of the Tropical Weather Outlook for that day).
Matthew was expected to dump very heavy rains over the region and that it did. At my location here in Coffee Bluff, I measured 12.96" mainly from 7 am Friday to 7 am Saturday. The National Weather Service compiled a list of rain gauges from around our area and values of 10-17" were quite common ... Measured rainfall from Matthew (Courtesy of National Weather Charleston)
Very Strong Winds
The winds were strong all afternoon and evening, Oct 7 in Savannah. At 2:30 am, Oct 8, I posted on FB that winds were gusting 40-49 mph through the region. The western portion of the eye-wall was just about to pass over Chatham County when I lost internet connection at 2:38 am. I estimate that the winds in my neighborhood of Coffee Bluff Plantation to be around 70-75 mph based on observations later in the day of the trees and houses. There were numerous trees down but very little shingle damage to the roofs of all the houses. Also, most of the trees were point slight east of south indicating they were blown down when the western and southern portion of the storm passing to the north which was about 3:30 am to 7:00 am. Winds were obviously higher further to the east out to the islands. Below is a link to the forecast max winds and rain from the NWS National Digital Forecast Database and their graphic from the National Weather Service Charleston of the maximum observed measured wind gusts from around our region. The weather service just about nailed the wind forecast that was issued late Friday afternoon for the overnight period which I posted at 6:14 pm Friday.
Forecast winds from the NWS and the measured peak winds from Matthew (Courtesy of National Weather Charleston)
Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale
Hurricane Matthew was a category 2 storm on the "Saffir-Simpson wind scale" when it was off the GA coast. At its strongest, it was a category 5 while in the Carribean Sea. Here is a link from NOAA explaing this scale along with an animation showing the effects of wind on a dwelling ...
Explanation of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with animation video
Barometric Pressure at Coffee Bluff
Graph of barometer from Coffee Bluff (my house). Pressure bottomed out at my location at 28.93 inches of mercury at 3:30 am, Saturday, Oct 8. By the way, the lowest pressure of the storm was 934 milibars (27.56" of mercury) on Oct 4.
Record Breaking Tide
The tide at the Savannah River Entrance at Ft Pulaski reached 12.56 feet around 2:30 am, Oct 8 as the eye was just south of due east of Tybee by about 20 miles. This was the hightest tide surge since the great hurricane of August 27, 1893 when the tide surge was estimated at 19.5 feet.
Modern Day Historic Tides
(1) 12.56 ft on 10/08/2016
(2) 12.21 ft on 09/04/1979
(3) 10.90 ft on 10/15/1947
(4) 10.50 ft on 08/11/1940
(5) 10.43 ft on 10/27/2015
(6) 10.30 ft on 12/03/1971
(7) 10.26 ft on 02/07/1993
(8) 10.07 ft on 06/23/2009
(9) 10.05 ft on 06/22/2009
(10) 9.99 ft on 09/16/2001
(11) 9.91 ft on 10/28/2015
(12) 9.89 ft on 05/07/2012
(13) 9.89 ft on 01/30/2010
(14) 9.88 ft on 10/03/2015
(15) 9.87 ft on 11/13/1981
(16) 9.87 ft on 07/21/2001
(17) 9.81 ft on 09/29/2015
(Data from the NOAA Tide Gauge at Ft. Pulaski)
The hurricane developed from a strong tropical wave in the Atlantic and traversed into the Caribbean Seas where it continued to developed and reached category 5 while in the central Caribbean Sea with 160 mph winds on the 11 pm advisory of September 30 …
- Satellite view Sep 30, 1:15 pm, winds 120 mph
- Satellite view Sep 30, 4:45 pm, winds 140 mph
- Satellite view Oct 1, 5:00 pm, winds 150 mph
- Satellite view Oct 2, 5:00 pm, winds 145 mph
- Satellite view Oct 3, 10:00apm, winds 140 mph
- Satellite view Oct 4, 8:00 am, winds 140 mph (Over western Haiti)
- Satellite view Oct 5, 10:00 am, winds 115 mph
- Satellite view Oct 6, 5:00 pm, winds 140 mph (Just est o f Miami, FL
- Satellite view Oct 7, 6:00 pm, winds 110 mph (East of Jacksonville, FL)
Local Radar Views
This was the last visible satellite image I had. Now that the sun had set, my attention was to the radar images that I was posting on my website and FB. I receive National Weather Service individual radar data via GRLevel3 version 2 application for desk top computers which is a Windows viewer for live NEXRAD Level III radar data. This is updated every 2 minutes and my system uploads the output product to my web site. I am also able to take individual products and post to my FB pages, which I did, as long as I had an Internet connection.
Here are some of the products as the hurricane was moving up the Georgia coastal waters as a category 2 storm with 110 mph winds:
- Radar at 10:29 pm (53 miles from coast of Tybee)
- Radar at 11:31 pm (48 miles from coast of Tybee with projection of potential path … based on the High Resolution Rapid Refresh Model)
- Radar at 12:50 am (35 miles from coast of Tybee with projection arrows)
- Radar at 2:38 am (20 miles from coast of Tybee. It looked like the hurricane was undergoing and ‘eye-wall’ replacement in this depiction bringing the eye about 5 miles closer to the coast than the older eye center)
The National Hurricane Center's forecast path was quite remarkable ... that coupled with different dynamic global computer models aiding in displaying the threat that was posed for our region nearly a week in advance. Below are some of those projections. "GFS" stands for "Global Forecast System" which is the United States of America's main weather computer model which runs out to 384 hours four times a day.
At this point, I lost my Internet connection. I had lost grid electric power around 1 am but I had my computers on my solar power battery bank, but was typing in the dark until I lost internet connection at 2:38 am. Shortly after 3 am, the western portion of the eye-wall passed over eastern Chatham County and to follow about an hour later, Hilton Head Island with winds gusting 85-95 mph (See wind reports). Winds were strong until around 8 am Saturday and slowly diminished during the day. The sky was mostly cloudy Saturday, so I didn’t receive much solar energy from the sun, but just enough to charge my batteries to keep our refrigerator going through the night into Sunday. Plenty of sunshine prevailed Sunday and my batteries were charging nicely but fortunately to us, our grid power came back on here in Coffee Bluff Plantation at 12:35 pm Sunday afternoon and Comcast Internet followed 10 minutes later. All-in-all, our house suffered no damage as we have taken precautions over the years to reinforce our home to withstand strong storms along with solar power electrical back-up and solar heated water, satellite and antenna TV and an array of cooking elements compatible with the solar energy battery banks.
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