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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 09/ 3/2008

Forecast: Summer Heat for Now. A Nasty Saturday?

By Dan Stillman

Hanna's impact on D.C. area still uncertain

Gustav: No Easy Road Home | Track Hanna

Between the busy tropics, political party conventions and schools back in session, the world is alive with activity as of late. Yet there's a calm in the air here in the D.C. area, where summer heat sticks around today and tomorrow, with a lot of sun and highs in the low 90s. A tropical storm named Hanna may shake things up come late Friday and Saturday. But for now she 's taking her sweet time deciding how strong she wants to be, and how fast and in what direction she wants to go.


Sunny. Not too humid. Low 90s. Like we've seen for much of the summer, we get the heat today without the horrible humidity. From morning lows in the upper 50s to low 60s (suburbs) and the mid-to-upper 60s (downtown), temperatures should rise to afternoon highs in the low 90s. The sun will be bright, and winds light.

Tonight, partly to mostly clear with some increased humidity working its way in. Lows in the mid-to-upper 60s in the burbs, near 70 downtown.

Will Hanna cause havoc around these parts? Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend, and see NatCast and UnitedCast for the outlook for tonight's games.


Sunny. A bit more humid. Low-to-mid 90s. We keep the sunny skies, turn the heat up a notch, and add some low-to-moderate humidity. Most everyone should get to highs in the low 90s, with some spots possibly hitting the mid 90s. Winds will again be light, starting to come out of the south. Thursday night, mostly clear with lows in the mid-to-upper 60s in the suburbs, low 70s downtown.


As of now, I think Friday will start off fine, with partly to mostly skies in the morning and highs heading for the mid 80s, and it'll be rather humid. Depending on the speed and track of Hanna, which will probably make landfall Friday along the Southeast coast as a hurricane or tropical storm, its leading edge could bring clouds, some showers and thunderstorms, and increasing winds by afternoon or evening. Confidence: Low-Medium

Winds will likely get stronger Friday night along with an increasing chance of rain, which could be heavy at times, as lows drop to near 70. Confidence: Low-Medium

Saturday has the potential to be nasty with strong winds, driving rains and thunderstorms, and highs in the 70s. But how bad it is depends on the exact track of Hanna's remnants, which will be coming up from the south. The metro area could be in the bull's-eye of rainfall, or it could just as easily be toward the eastern or western fringe of the storm. Confidence: Low-Medium

Showers could linger Satruday night as winds slacken. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Sunday, Hanna's leftovers could be racing off to the northeast, leaving us with a partly sunny and breezy day with highs in the mid 80s to near 90. Confidence: Medium

By Dan Stillman  | September 3, 2008; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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So, best guess. A repeat of Isabel or not?

Posted by: twisted diva | September 3, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

NOAA has center hugging coast all the way up

Posted by: mandarb77 | September 3, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I am echoing 'twisted diva': how would this compare to Isabel? Since Hanna has shifted east, doesn't that mean more rain for us, and less wind? I'm trying to decide if I need to get my boat out of the water or not. Thanks!

Posted by: Etta | September 3, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

So, I have a trip to VA Beach planned - leaving tomorrow after work and returning on Monday. My wife and I are going with another couple (from NC) and our collective 5 kids (under 5). I need some advice on this. Were it me I'd be all over this. But I don't want to do anything stupid with the kiddos. It seems to me that Friday is partly ok - at least in the morning/early afternoon. Saturday will be bad. Sunday and Monday will be good. The question is whether it's just too dangerous to be there. Could the trend continue and it pass to the east - missing landfall altogether and lessening impacts since we'd be on the western side? What is the worst case scenario for how strong the winds could be in VA Beach? Cat 1 if it hits the outer banks as a 2-3 and moves directly over us? I'd appreciate any thoughts/advice. Thanks.

Posted by: NovaHoo | September 3, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

What are the uncertainties here other than the normal wait and see wishy washy? 1. The forecast track has not changed, 2. the "computers" are in as much agreement as one could expect, 3. the shearing weakened the storm as predicted, 4. it is going to strengthen, and 5. it is a ts or hurricane when it gets to the east coast of the USA folks.

Posted by: Uncle Dak | September 3, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Etta, twisted Diva -- One difference from Isabel is that, on the current forecast track, Hanna would come ashore in South Carolina rather than North Carolina. That could mean weaker winds by the time it gets here than with Isabel, which produced sustained winds up to near 50 mph in parts of the area and gusts to near 80 mph. That said, tropical-storm force winds (sustained at more than 39 mph) and higher gusts are well within the realm of possibility for the metro area with Hanna, especially if it hugs the coast and thus weakens less by staying closer to the water. Hanna also looks like a fast-mover, which would help to limit -- but not necessarily eliminate -- flooding from rainfall, but could increase storm surge along the Eastern Shore.

Posted by: Dan, Capital Weather Gang | September 3, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Hanna keeps moving more off the coast, according to the 11am advisory. good for us here in DC.

Posted by: Jerrod | September 3, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

As Jerrod notes, track keeps shifting east. Too much more and Hanna's not going to do much around here.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | September 3, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I would not classify Hanna as anything similar to Isabel. Hanna will not get anywhere near Isabel's strength. The way things are going, I would be suprised if it achieved anything more than minimal hurricane status. Still, the latest guidance, HWRF and GFDL, position Hanna almost directly over us Saturday afternoon as a tropical depression. Still, most of her strongest winds should stay over the bay and open water as friction with the land will slow the winds over us. Right now I see quite a gusty afternoon, occasionally 35+, for us on Saturday and chances for up to a inch of rain. But Hanna has done nothing she has supposed to have done yet so this forecast should change with time.

Posted by: Brian, Capital Weather Gang | September 3, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I agree Hanna will probably not be an Isabel unless there is unexpected rapid intensification. However, Hanna will be moving very quickly, so even if it comes ashore somewhat further south than Isabel did, it will have less time to weaken before it gets to our neck of the woods.

Posted by: Jason, Capital Weather Gang | September 3, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Brian, I would echo your comment that Hanna has not yet done what it's been expected to do, both on the intensity front and with the track. Every discussion from NHC has talked about the impending turn to the North, and finally that may be happening now, but it's been almost amusing watch it confound forecasters with its erratic movement and interaction with wind shear.

That said, much of the track guidance keeps the center to the east of D.C. later on Saturday. This could confine the strongest winds and heaviest rain to the shoreline.

Does anyone here have a good example of a storm that took a similar track? How did that affect D.C. in terms of wind and rain?

Posted by: Andrew Freedman, Capital Weather Gang | September 3, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

To Alert DC Subscribers:

District residents are urged to begin preparing now for the possibility of severe weather this weekend. Early forecasts indicate the possibility that the District will be impacted by Hanna, which is expected to reach the District on Saturday. The storm may bring heavy rains and high winds.

Residents are urged to review their family plan to be sure information is current and up-to-date. Among the points to consider are what you would do if you and your family members were separated or if an emergency occurred while your child was at school and your were at work. More information about how to make a plan is available at on line at

Residents should also prepare an emergency kit that includes non-perishable food and water (one gallon per person per day) for at least 3 to 5 days. Medical supplies, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio and extra batteries, along with supplies for infants or pets should also be included. For additional information about how to make a kit, visit

A battery- or crank-powered radio will help residents stay informed in the event of electrical outrages. Information will be available on all major media outlets, and on DC Cable Channel 13 and 16. Additional information about hurricanes and protective actions you can take can be viewed at the following site:

Posted by: jmbethesda | September 3, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

If Hanna's track keeps shifting east, we might see little more than a "nuisance" rain on Saturday. We could use about 0.75" around here, however.

Ike could be of more concern if it follows Hanna's track. Currently NHC expects Ike to strengthen [to 100 kts./110-120 mph] while Josephine may weaken [due principally to dry air feed interaction + wind shear]. Both systems are expected to continue tracking westward [but if Ike follows on or near Hanna's track it could pose a bigger threat to D.C. One analog situation is that involving Edouard and Fran in Sept., 1996. Fran proved to be the more significant storm for this area that year.]

Posted by: El Bombo | September 3, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The problem with Hanna is that she drifted further southeast than expected by most if not all models the past few days. Even if the pattern over the next few days is as modeled, the storm will have a difficult time making it too far west. As of now, it seems most model runs keep coming in further east -- new GFS skims the outer banks of NC then right up the coastline into southern New England. We still get good rains on this run, but we're getting closer to the dry edge. Basically, we need the shifts east to stop now and with Hanna seeming to move north they may.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | September 3, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

What does this mean for Virginia's Northern Neck? I'm supposed to head up there on Saturday and stay until Tuesday... and since it's a relatively rural area I'm having a hard time finding good forecast info.

Posted by: Divine Ms K | September 3, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Great analysis. Thanks, cwg.

Posted by: Etta | September 3, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Its a probabilistic model, get over it, there is no point examining the nuances of the path until a couple more days have passed. It will be a coin-toss until then.

Posted by: joe | September 3, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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