Hurricane Matthew remains a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, according to the 8p et update Wednesday from the National Hurricane Center. The storm remains north of Cuba and is currently impacting the Bahamas. It is 360 miles from West Palm Beach, Florida.
The storm's official forecast track predicts Hurricane Matthew will hug the Florida coast as it travels northward. Impacts could be felt anywhere from Miami through Jacksonville.
Hurricane Matthew will then continue north along the Georgia and South Carolina coastline. Evacuations have already begun in some place. In South Carolina, Interstate 26 out of Charleston has all lanes open to outbound traffic. The eastbound lanes have been open to westbound traveling traffic.
Flooding is all bur guaranteed along seaward facing communities, neighborhoods along rivers and streams and other low lying areas. Flooding will be caused by Hurricane Matthew's rainfall combined with its strong winds, which will help to "push" water onshore.
Experimental data from the National Hurricane Center maps the impact of potential storm surge. You can click here to see the map.
Even if Hurricane Matthew never makes landfall, the storm's hurricane-force winds and outer tropical storm-force winds could still impact coastal communities. The storm's strong winds will be felt hundreds of miles from the storm's eye.
Residents living in coastal communities of South Carolina have already begun to evacuate. Evacuations are also underway along the Florida coast, where the storm's impacts will be felt by Thursday.
The official National Hurricane Center forecast is created using expert analysis and data from a variety of weather models. With each passing day in the forecast window, the forecast cone - also known as the "Cone of Uncertainty" - grows larger because of conflicting theories and data playing up their differences.
As of Wednesday, almost all models agree that Hurricane Matthew will slide northward along the eastern coast of Florida on Thursday and Friday. By Saturday the storm will be near the South Carolina coast. Some models believe that Hurricane Matthew will continue towards the North Carolina coast before heading east out to sea. Differing models bring the south back south; essentially creating a loop. It's simply too early to know what will happen this many days out.
To learn more about how forecasts are made - and how forecasts are busted - click here to read an earlier article.