I left my home in Suburban Detroit on Thursday morning and left for Melbourne, Florida. The hurricane had already caused havoc in the Caribbean. Matthew became a tropical storm just before impacting the Windward Islands. Moving through the Eastern Caribbean, it slowly intensified into a Category 1 hurricane. Matthew then went through a period of rapid intensification, quickly becoming a Category 5 hurricane with 160mph winds. It was the third quickest intensification in the Atlantic. Matthew caused at least 1000 fatalities in the Caribbean Islands, with most occurring in Haiti. Matthew made landfall as an upper-end Category 4 hurricane in Haiti, and as a Category 4 in Cuba as well. The hurricane then weakened to a Category 3 after land interaction and moved into the Southwest Atlantic. Moving into favorable conditions for intensification, it restrengthened into a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall on several of the Bahamas Islands. It then paralleled the Florida East Coast while slowly weakening and undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle. It curved to the NE before landfalling in South Carolina as a minimal Category 1 hurricane. Flooding was extreme in the Carolinas, with moderate wind damage reported from Florida to North Carolina. Storm surge was a significant issues, especially in Northern Florida and the Carolinas. Wind damage was intense in the Bahamas, Cuba, and Haiti.
I met up with a friend from Louisiana at the Melbourne Airport. We went to our hotel, the Super 8 Hotel, and got settled in before the storm hit. Winds started out barely gusting to tropical storm force, but as the night went on, they increased to well over hurricane force. Peak wind gusts were in the 90-100mph range, though the absolute worst was not recorded on video. We got clipped by the western part of the outer eyewall. Pressure got down to 981.4mb. The hotel lost about 20-25% of its roofing, sustained a couple broken windows, and many trees were downed in the area. Other structures had roof damage, fences were blown over, signs were down, many limbs were snapped, and docks/piers were broken. A lot of power flashes and power outages occurred, but we only lost power for a few hours. Storm surge flooding was not as bad as areas further north like in Daytona or St. Augustine. We were able to leave Melbourne on Saturday and make it back to our respected locations. I included the TWC local on the 8's clip as seeing wind speeds that high was unique. The hurricane was supposed to make landfall in our area, but due to an unstable inner core it kept wobbling and remained offshore. If it made landfall then impacts would have been much more severe. This is a disaster that won't soon be forgotten.
Copyright Isaac Polanski
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