Hurricane Matthew's evolving forecast kept weather experts guessing — and had some of them swearing. At one point, some models predicted a loop-the-loop path that would have had the storm grazing the Florida coast once, then coming back to cross the state into the Gulf of Mexico, prompting an uncharacteristic string of profanity from hurricane expert Jeff Masters, according to one of Masters' Wunderground.com blog posts.
But that odd forecast didn't come true. Instead, Matthew ended up taking a more northerly path that brought unexpected rainfall as far north as Virginia. The consequences were not disastrous, but they did serve as a wakeup call to coastal residents that tropical weather can't be taken for granted.
"So, what can we learn from Matthew’s surprise late-round battering of Hampton Roads?" asked the Virginian-Pilot (see: "Hurricane Matthew's surprise late-round battering of Hampton Roads is a lesson in weather forecasting," by Dave Mayfield. "Several lessons – one of the most important of which is that weather forecasting isn’t an exact science. And, because of that, no matter how often we’ve gotten off lucky before, it’s best to prepare for the worst anytime a hurricane or tropical storm is headed in our direction."
"Matthew crawled 100 miles farther up the North Carolina coast – then drifted away from Cape Hatteras more slowly than predicted, too. That drew out our misery as bands far from its eye pummeled Hampton Roads with rain," the paper reported. One result: another round of flooding for an upscale Virginia Beach housing development called Ashville Park where drainage has been a problem before, according to the Virginian-Pilot (see: "High-end Virginia Beach community begs for help after repeated flooding. City says there's no quick fix," by Mary Beth Gahan).
"When a nor’easter blew in a couple years ago, the streets and sidewalks flooded," the paper reported. "The neighborhood again was saturated 2½ weeks ago when a large storm system dumped several inches of rain. Water lapped against garage doors. Then came Hurricane Matthew. On Monday, many of the subdivision’s streets remained impassable, and retention ponds merged, forming lakes." The development went bankrupt during the housing crisis, the paper reported, and its drainage system is now the city's problem. But the city and its private contractors have yet to find a solution to the location's flooding problem.
The heavy rain caused another problem in the area, the Virginian-Pilot reported: a sinkhole at the local landfill (see: "Sinkhole at Virginia Beach landfill takes out a road, pipes and bathroom," by Mary Beth Gahan). "The city landfill is closed until further notice after heavy rain and flooding from Hurricane Matthew created a Grand Canyon of sorts there," the paper reported. "Water filled up a quarter-mile ditch that runs around the site off Centerville Turnpike, then spilled over into a borrow pit and caused 'extensive damage,' according to the Department of Public Works. The ditch, which used to be 4 feet deep, now bottoms out at 30 feet."