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Tropical Storm Matthew was the thirteenth named storm of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. Matthew formed on October 8 over the western Gulf of Mexico east of northeastern Mexico. Matthew moved east and northeast, making landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana on October 10 as a minimal tropical storm. Matthew quickly weakened to a tropical depression after landfall, then moved north as it quickly became extratropical that same day.

Matthew caused $305,000 (2004 USD) in damage but caused no fatalities.

Matthew approaching Louisiana
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FormationOctober 8, 2004
Dissipation October 10, 2004
Highest winds 45 mph
Lowest pressure 997 mbar
Deaths None reported
Damages $305,000 (2004 USD)
Areas affectedLouisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio Valley
Part of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season


Meteorological History

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Matthew appears to have been spawned by a tropical wave that exited the coast of Africa on September 19. The wave was very difficult to track between Africa and the Lesser Antilles due to its close proximity to Tropical Storm Lisa as well as a large and convectively active tropical wave. On September 29, the wave passed through the Lesser Antilles and began to interact with a westward moving upper-level low. On October 5, convection associated with the wave reached the Bay of Campeche and gradually became better organized while moving little. An upper-level anticyclone became established over the wave and surface pressures began to fall in the area. On October 7, data from a reconnaissance aircraft indicated that a broad area of low pressure had formed to the east of Tampico, Mexico, accompanied by light winds. The system continued to become better organized while moving little, and it is estimated that the system developed into Tropical Depression Fourteen at 1200 UTC October 8 about 180 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas. After forming, the depression quickly strengthened into Tropical Storm Matthew, just six hours after forming (1800 UTC). Initially, the cyclone moved east and east-northeast, but a gradual turn to the northeast and north occured due to the influence of a large mid- to upper-level low over western Texas. It is estimated that Matthew reached its peak intensity of 45 mph with a pressure of 997 mb at 1800 UTC October 9. At around 1100 UTC October 10, Matthew made landfall just west of Cocodrie, Louisiana as a minimal tropical storm with 40 mph winds. After landfall, Matthew rapidly weakened to a tropical depression and it became an extratropical cyclone as it moved north. It continued north and then took a turn to the northwest and was absorbed by a frontal zone at 1200 UTC October 11.

Preparations

Initially, it was predicted that Matthew would take a more eastern track and strike the Florida Panhandle. However, because the track shifted westward, the National Hurricane Center issued Tropical Storm Warnings from the Florida/Alabama border to Intercoastal City, Louisiana the day before landfall occured.

Impact

Although damage was minor throughout its path, Matthew produced heavy rainfall across much of the Gulf Coast, peaking at over 15 inches in portions of Louisiana.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, where Matthew made landfall, the storm produced a storm surge of 5.85 feet in Frenier. The storm surge and high waves resulted in significant beach erosion at Grand Isle. Matthew produced heavy rainfall across its path, totaling to 16.23 inches in Reserve in the southeastern portion of the state. Also, portions of northwestern Louisiana received significant rainfall from Matthew, including a peak of 18 inches in Haynesville near the Louisiana/Arkansas border. In addition, the cyclone spawned one tornado, causing damage to the roof of a trailer in Golden Meadow. The heavy rains caused rivers to crest higher than normal, including the Killian River, which peaked at 5.7 feet. Rainfall and storm surge flooded 20 homes in Terrebonne Parish. Also, several homes in Lafourche Parish received flooding from Matthew, including with over two feet of water. Numerous homes in Golden Meadow received flooding, as well. The flooding also forced the temporarily closure of numerous roads across the state, including portions of U.S. Route 11 and Interstate 10. Floodwaters from Matthew cracked a water line in LaPlace, leaving nearly 30,000 residents and businesses without tap water. However, the problem was expected to take little time to fix, although residents were advised to boil the water before drinking it. Matthew also left 2,500 people without electricity for a short period of time. Matthew also caused several schools to close, forcing school administrators to reschedule plans for making up school closings caused by Hurricane Ivan one month earlier. In all, Matthew caused no fatalities in the state, and it produced $255,000 (2004 USD) in damage there.

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Flooded areas from Tropical Storm Matthew. The bluish gray areas indicate
flooded areas.

Florida and Alabama

Matthew's outer rainbands produced heavy rainfall to Florida as it made landfall, with the rain being reported as far south as Naples. In Pensacola, Matthew produced 30 mph wind gusts, as well as 3 to 4 inches of rainfall. In Alabama, wind gusts reached 47 mph at Dauphin Island. Matthew produced light rainfall across Alabama, reaching 2.74 inches at Grand Bay. In addition, Matthew produced a storm surge of 1 to 3 feet, causing minor to major beach erosion. The beach erosion was greater than expected of a weak storm like Matthew, due to the passage of Hurricane Ivan through the state just weeks earlier. No major damage was reported in Alabama from Matthew.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, Matthew produced sustained winds of 39 mph with gusts to 45 mph in Waveland. Storm surge ranged from 2 to 4 feet across much of the coastline, although Waveland reported a peak of 5.13 feet. Rainfall totals were mainly in the 2 to 4 inch range. Total damage in Mississippi from Matthew reached $50,000 (2004 USD).

Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas

Even though the left side of a tropical cyclone is typically the weakest in the Northern Hemisphere, Matthew produced heavy rains along its left side, with portions of Texas and Oklahoma picking up over 5 inches of rain from the storm. Southern Arkansas reported over 10 inches of rain from Matthew. However, the rainfall was well-received due to a period of dry weather in the area. Though it slowed harvest activities, it aided pastures.

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Rainfall totals from Tropical Storm Matthew.

Lack of Retirement

Because damage was minimal, the name Matthew was not retired in the Spring of 2005 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

2004 Atlantic hurricane season

References

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/2004matthew.shtml?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Storm_Matthew_%282004%29

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