Cruise ships shift itineraries due to Hurricane Matthew
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (WOFL FOX 35) - Any impact from Hurricane Matthew is still a few days away, but the latest forecast shows the track is shifting to the west, which could greatly affect weather in the Sunshine State.
"We do have more models coming in which do push Matthew nearer to Florida," said FOX 35 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Richards. "The question continues to be, how close will it get? Will it be 100 miles off shore? Will it be 50 miles off shore? That will determine what conditions we see."
Matthew is is expected to impact Florida by late Thursday and into Friday. Florida Gov. Rick Scott late Monday afternoon declared a state of emergency, in preparation for the Category 4 hurricane.
"If Hurricane Matthew directly impacts Florida, there could be massive destruction which we haven’t seen since Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade County in 1992," the governor said in a statement. "That is why we cannot delay and must prepare for direct impact now."
Heavy rains from the outer bands of Matthew drenched Jamaica and Haiti on Monday, flooding streets and sending many people to emergency shelters as the Category 4 storm approached the two countries. Two deaths were reported in Haiti, bringing the total for the storm to at least four.
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Only slight weakening is expected during the next couple of days due to Matthew interacting with the land masses of western Haiti and eastern Cuba. After the hurricane emerges over the Atlantic waters between Cuba and the Bahamas, low wind shear and warm water should help the storm regain strength.
Matthew's powerful presence has prompted cruise lines at Port Canaveral to shift itineraries. Disney, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival are all rerouting their passengers to avoid the eastern Caribbean Ocean.
Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas, which left port on Monday, is no longer going to the Bahamas, but instead, to Key West. The Disney Dream has dropped stops in Nassau and it's popular island Castaway Cay, for one day in Cozumel, Mexico.