Hurricane Matthew’s loopy forecast could mean second shot at South Florida

Maybe don’t put those storm shutters away this weekend after all. As Hurricane Matthew continued on a path Thursday afternoon that would spare South Florida the worst of its Category 4 winds, the National Hurricane Center’s five-day forecast showed the storm on a path that might have it heading back toward the region around the middle of next week.

While it’s hardly certain, the 5 p.m. Thursday forecast shows Matthew likely skirting the East Coast, turning east around South Carolina and making a wide U-turn back south into the Atlantic Ocean.

By Tuesday afternoon, the cone of uncertainty shows the storm could be anywhere from the coast off North Carolina to the Bahamas and possibly back on a track toward South Florida — but, hopefully, as a significantly weaker tropical storm. for South Florida.Some computer models predict Matthew will actually pass through the peninsula on a southwesterly track.  

“It’s a possibility but it’s very uncertain,” said Chuck Caracozza, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “There are several models that are showing it do that loop, but it’s so far out that it’s very uncertain.”

Caracozza also said it’s difficult to predict with any certainty how strong the storm would be by the middle of next meteorologist Jeff Masters agreed on his blog Wednesday that the models were hardly guaranteed.

But he also said seeing the models moved him to profanity.“While a loop back towards Florida and The Bahamas next week is not yet a sure thing,” he said, “the increasing trend of our top models in that direction is a strong indication that Matthew will be around for a very long time.”