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These images show the extreme storm surge potential of Hurricane Matthew

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Hurricane Matthew has a chance to break the decade-long major hurricane drought in the U.S. The storm could bring punishing winds, heavy rains and storm surge to Florida as early as Thursday.

The potential risks that storm surge poses are particularly worrisome for parts of Florida as the center of Matthew is likely to approach the coast on Friday morning during high tide. Matthew’s surge and winds have already caused major damage in coastal areas in the Caribbean.

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Baracoa, a city of nearly 82,000 on the northeast corner of Cuba, was hit particularly hard by storm surge. The center of Matthew passed just to the east of the city, but the shape of the coast helped funnel powerful storm surge ashore. Videos and photos emerging on social media show rubble-strewn streets and collapsed buildings in the wake of the storm.

As of Thursday morning, Matthew was sporting 140 mph winds as it plowed across the Bahamas. Some additional strengthening is possible before it reaches Florida. The worst impacts to the state are likely to come Friday.

Exactly how much storm surge comes ashore in different parts of Florida depends in large part on Matthew’s track, but forecasts indicate that 6 to 9 feet of surge is possible for Cape Canaveral, located about 70 miles south of Daytona Beach, as well as Jacksonville, and all the way up to Edisto Beach in South Carolina. To the south of the Space Coast, 3 to 5 feet of storm surge is expected. Numbers only tell part of the story. To help illustrate the potential severe impacts, WXshift has created graphics using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration storm surge forecast and Google Earth.

Daytona Beach, Fla. potential flooding ahead of Hurricane Matthew (data as of 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 6.
Credit: WXshift

 

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These renderings are not intended to be a forecast of exact impacts. A shift in Matthew’s track of just 10 miles could be the difference between major impacts and relatively minor ones, not just in terms of storm surge but also rain and wind.

But these images do illustrate the potential Matthew has to push water ashore and wreak havoc. They also serve as a warning that staying in harm’s way is a risky proposition. Voluntary evacuation orders have been issued for Lucie, Flagler and Duval counties and a mandatory evacuation order has been issued for barrier islands in Brevard County. It’s distinctly possible more evacuation orders will be issued as the forecast progresses.

Warming oceans and melting glaciers have added about 8 inches to sea levels near Jacksonville since the start of the 20th century. Research has also shown an increase in the frequency of large storm surge events in the Atlantic hurricane basin since 1923.

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Marshall Shepherd, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Georgia, has an instructive post over at Forbes about what you need to know about monitoring Matthew. His first point is particularly relevant:

“The forecasts evolve. Just because you saw a forecast on Saturday, it doesn’t mean that it has not or will not change. It is not uncommon for someone to say, ‘But I thought the storm was going to ____ because that is what they said 3 days ago.’ Hurricane track forecasts have improved over the past few decades, but there is still significant error. Intensity forecasts are even more challenging. Watch the evolving forecast rather than exclusively relying on one you saw days ago.”

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These maps are one piece of that evolution. We’ll be updating them regularly as new forecast information becomes available. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to consider the sixth point in Shepherd’s post if you live anywhere along the Florida coast: “Prepare for the worst but if the worst doesn’t happen say thank-you.”

Andrea Thompson contributed reporting to this article.

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This originally appeared on WXshift.com.


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MSNBC analyst shreds GOP claim impeachment is an effort to change the 2016 election

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Republicans have claimed that the reason Democrats have sought impeachment, either from the Russia scandal to the Ukraine scandal, is that they want to unmake the 2016 election. Speaking to MSNBC Sunday, NYU Law Prof. Melissa Murray ripped the claim to shreds.

First, impeachment would only remove President Donald Trump is the Republican Senate voted to do so. If the president were removed, the new president wouldn't be Hillary Clinton; it would be Mike Pence, getting Democrats no victories other than upholding the rule of law.

"As these proceedings go away, there is building support for impeachment; it will require a supermajority of the Senate in order to convict and remove the president, which will require some Republican Senators to peel off and depart from the path," Murray said. "But I think the really important thing that Bob has mentioned here is this idea ta the Republicans are taunting that impeachment is a backend effort to basically subvert the will of the people. I think the testimony that was presented yesterday makes clear that that claim is specious."

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Rudy Giuliani’s devotion has escorted Trump straight to impeachment

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"Step by step, [Rudy Giuliani] has escorted President Trump to the brink of impeachment," The New York Times said in a piece following the president's top lawyer and his impact on the scandals facing the 45th president.

Two associates of Giuliani's have already been indicted, Giuliani is under criminal investigation from federal prosecutors, and he was never graced with a top position in the Trump government.

"The separate troubles he has gotten his client and himself into are products of the uniquely powerful position he has fashioned, a hybrid of unpaid personal counsel to the president and for-profit peddler of access and advice," The Times said Sunday.

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Trump team ‘is as incompetent, shambolic, paranoid, and given to conspiracy theories as it appears’: MSNBC panel

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In a Sunday evening panel discussion, MSNBC commentators explained that the White House appears to be just as chaotic and marred by chaos as the rumors say.

Many in the White House learned that the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was working overseas in Ukraine. Giuliani claimed that he's been producing a film that he couldn't get Fox News to run, as it will appear on the fringe network OAN.

"What Rudy Giuliani is doing is using Kremlin-manufactured propaganda as a defensive shield for the president," said CNBC's John Harwood. "Fiona Hill was unambiguous in her testimony to the intelligence committee. What Rudy Giuliani has been doing with these two indicted men who are linked to a Russian oligarch who is tied to Russian organized crime, is trying to manufacture a story that Ukraine, rather than Russia or in addition to Russia or differently from Russia, meddle in the campaign. That is false."

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