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Hurricane Matthew models diverge as to U.S. track, advisory says

A street seller sits next to her goods,

A street seller sits next to her goods, covered in plastic as protection from a light rain, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. Hurricane Matthew is slowly churning northward across the Caribbean and meteorologists say the powerful storm is expected to impact Haiti Monday night. Credit: AP / Dieu Nalio Chery

The short-term track of Hurricane Matthew, a dangerous Category 4 storm moving generally northward Monday in the Caribbean, appears fairly straightforward, forecasters said.

Longer term, there’s too much uncertainty to predict the storm’s impact on Long Island, forecasters say. But at a minimum, the National Hurricane Center said, it’s likely that much of the East Coast could see “very dangerous beach and boating conditions” at week’s end and into the weekend.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, the system, with sustained winds of about 140 mph, was forecast to bring “life-threatening rain, wind and storm surge” to parts of Haiti, then move near eastern Cuba late Tuesday and on to parts of the Bahamas into Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

More recent computer models were bringing the system closer to the east coast of Florida, then on to South Carolina, for Thursday and Friday.

“While there remains significant uncertainty…the threat to Florida and the southeastern U.S. coast has increased,” the center said in its 5 p.m. discussion.

Beyond Friday, the storm’s path is “extremely uncertain,” said Bill Korbel, News 12 Long Island meteorologist. “Computer models are generally in agreement that the storm will move up the coast, and certainly eastern North Carolina is in a precarious position,” he said.

From that point, “whether the storm continues to hug the coast or turn out to sea east of Long island is still an unknown,” he said.

While official forecasts for Matthew come from the hurricane center, area meteorologists are monitoring elements and interactions that could contribute to the timing and direction of the hurricane.

“Stay tuned to the forecast” as the hurricane center updates its findings over the coming days, said John Murray, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Upton office. The main message for Long Island at this point, he said, is that “it’s just too soon to tell.”

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