Aftermath of Matthew

Though it did less property damage in Florida than initially feared, Hurricane Matthew nevertheless turned out to be “one of the most destructive storms of recent years,” according to a report by National Geographic. Some of it costs simply cannot be calculated: The violent storm killed more than 1,000 people (most of them outside of the United States).

The cost of property damage to U.S. homeowners and business owners is pegged at a minimum of $10 billion, analysts say.

National Geographic recently published a fascinating timeline of Hurricane Matthew, which helps us understand how the storm and human reactions to it both evolved over the days from Sept. 25 to this past Tuesday, Oct. 11.

At the earliest point of the timeline, a tropical wave was leaving the cost of Africa, moving west across the Atlantic. As it gained strength, it was designated a tropic storm at the eastern end of the Caribbean. It was there dubbed Matthew, the 13th tropical storm of 2016.

By Sept. 29, it was stronger and considered a minimal hurricane with peak gusts of 75 mph as it moved near the coasts of Venezuela and Colombia.

The next day, peak winds are up to 100 mph, and then intensify in just 6 hours to 115. And 6 hours later, gusts were up to 140 mph.
The following day, winds were howling at an astonishing 160 mph. It has leaped in size and intensity from a tropical storm to Category 5 hurricane at a historically rapid pace.

Over the next couple of days, it tore into Haiti and Cuba, wreaking
devastation. It then barreled toward the U.S., where its violence continued, though with less of a toll in human life than on the island nations.

We are grateful that its full impact was not felt here, but know that the future will bring more storms to our area.