Sunday, September 26, 2010

Will Manatee have to worry about Matthew?

Manatee County has escaped the wrath of the tropics thus far this hurricane season.

Computer models last week, however, gave a hint that Tropical Storm Matthew could impact Florida.

What about now?

Forecasters just don’t know.

Matthew weakened to a tropical depression Saturday along the coast of Belize, dousing the southern part of the Central American country and neighboring Guatemala with rain that caused flooding in coastal areas.

BayNews9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik said the computer models now look like a “pretty little flower,” with lines going out in all directions.

The remnants of the tropical depression are expected to be practically stationary over the next day or two. After that, forecasters can only speculate.

Kacmarik said a disturbance could form in the Caribbean in the trail of Matthew, but no computer models have anything on that just yet.

On Saturday afternoon, Matthew had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was moving inland toward Guatemala and southern Mexico at about 14 mph.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Matthew could unleash 6 to 10 inches of rain, with as much as 15 inches possible in some areas in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico.

Meanwhile, far out over the Atlantic, Hurricane Lisa weakened to a tropical storm and was drifting slowly north with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph.

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