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Posted at 5:05 PM ET, 09/ 1/2008

Gustav Fades, Hanna Strengthens, Ike is Born

By Ian Livingston

Satellite image of Gustav (west), Hanna (Bahamas), and Ike (far east). Courtesy NASA.

Gustav Monitoring: Satellite Loop | Radar Loop | Interactive Tracking Map | Live Storm Chasing | Streaming Local News from New Orleans | New Orleans Damage Reports | New Orleans Times-Picayune blog | Eyewitness photos and videos | Capital Weather Gang Tropical Storm Coverage Archive | Washington Post Gustav Live Updates

Capital Weather Gang Live Chat Transcript.

Hurricane Gustav continues to track to the northwest, through Louisiana, after landfall this morning. As of 5 p.m. Gustav's maximum sustained winds have decreased to 80 mph, and it is expected to diminish into a tropical storm over the next several hours. The main concerns with Gustav are now transitioning from high winds and coastal storm surge to heavy flooding rains and severe weather.

Damage reports are still trickling in from the hardest hit area along the northern Gulf of Mexico coastline. As can be expected with a large hurricane, numerous downed trees, moderate storm surge flooding (including U.S. Highway 90), numerous power outages (now over 500,000 homes), and some structure failures are being reported from places near the coast and even inland. Hurricane force gusts have extended well inland to places like Baton Rouge (91 mph) and Lafayette (75 mph) as the entire state of Louisiana feels the wrath of Gustav.

Keep reading for more on the tropics including Hanna and Ike updates. For Washington, D.C. weather, see our full forecast.

Much attention has been given to New Orleans, and it currently appears the city has been spared a flooding scenario comparable to Katrina. Some levees in the area were overtopped by waves and some water seepage occurred, but most (recent news is that one is on the verge of giving way) seem to have held. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal urges continued caution, noting that the worst came after many suspected it was over in 2005.

From here, Gustav is expected to move into northeast Texas while transitioning to a tropical depression and slowing to a crawl. Rainfall totals will likely exceed one foot in places hardest hit by this the second aspect of Gustav's fury.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic basin, Hurricane Hanna continues to drift near the Bahamas while gaining strength as sustained winds hit 80 mph. Hanna is likely to affect the local weather to some degree later this week after hitting the southeast coastline as a hurricane -- stay tuned. Finally, a tropical depression that formed this morning has become Tropical Storm Ike as of 5 p.m. The National Hurricane Center foresees Ike becoming a hurricane as it tracks toward the east coast of the U.S. over the next week.

By Ian Livingston  | September 1, 2008; 5:05 PM ET
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gustav Ashore, Hanna a Hurricane
Next: NatCast: Everything Going Right


Ike is indeed troubling for me, even though it is so far out.

Any ideas of timeline (IF it affects our area)?

My outdoor wedding in Chevy Chase on Sat. 9/13 is the reason I've been sounding like a broken record.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Posted by: Rishi | September 1, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Not to downplay the landfall of a Category 2 Hurricane, but I have to think that just about everyone who's been following this storm has breathed a sigh of relief. Indeed, it looks like New Orleans has been spared; not just that, but prepared, evacuated and informed. 1.8 million people left the area, the largest evacuation in Louisiana history, and those who stayed seem to be in good condition.

None of this is to say that people did not die (though I haven't seen any reports), or that people did not lose their homes--or their families. Nevertheless, in comparison to a well-known storm that struck New Orleans three years ago, this might just be a hurricane with a happy ending.

Posted by: mcleaNed | September 1, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

We might want to worry about Hannah before Ike. The NOAA now gives us a 5% chance of experiencing tropical storm-force winds from that storm; even New York is in the 5% zone. (See graphic-- )

That might not sound like much, but as Hannah approaches, I have a good feeling that we'll be given a higher probability of Trop. Storm winds.

Posted by: mcleaNed | September 1, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

With fallout from Gustav still occurring, maybe this isn't the most appropriate time to say this but...

Being from Indiana and having never experienced a hurricane in the 4+ years that I've been in DC, I kind of...just a little...want to see what a hurricane is like. I'm curious. It's one weather phenomenon I've never encountered.

I know, be careful what you wish for. But TS wind/rain from Hanna might be a good taste without the drama, right?

Posted by: Laura in NWDC | September 1, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse


In 2003 we had a tropical system hit the area and I can tell you that it was not alll that it was craked up to be. While it was exciting to see the winds and the bad weather, being without power and water for 3 days was a real problem. Many people lost $100's of dollars in groceries and the elderly suffered through extreme heat in the days following. Paths along the Potomac were damaged and there was major flooding in basements around the DC Metroplex.

I appreciate your enthusiasm ----but be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: Greg | September 1, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I know, having grown up with tornadoes my whole life, I can't imagine anyone wanting to experience a tornado who hadn't before. It's awful and destructive and violent. And yet here I am thinking a little tropical storm action would be kinda interesting even though those who have experienced it would generally not recommend it.

But that does lead me to a question: how destructive does a typical tropical storm tend to be in the Mid-Atlantic? Would a TS be a boon to our dry land or a power-outage-causing nightmare?

Posted by: Laura in NWDC | September 1, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I am with you. We were without power for several days, and fallen trees were everywhere. Luckily, my portable generator kept the sump pump running so our basement did not flood.

Tropical systems in our neck of the woods are power-causing nightmares as Laura in NWDC quoted. If Hurricanes Hanna and Ike miss us, I will not be upset, but I think our good fortunes are running out.

Posted by: David A. in Stafford | September 1, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse


From my perspective, the answers would be yes, and yes... I've lived here long enough to remember 3 storms in particular. Camille in 1969 and Agnes in 1972 were very rainy here, and Isabel in 2003 was both rainy and extremely windy.

Similar to Greg, my place was without power for nearly 2 days and I was stuck at home since nearly every exit from my neighborhood was blocked by downed trees and power lines.

Posted by: scottr | September 1, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

The NHC now expects Hanna to hit the SE coast as a category 2 hurricane.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | September 1, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Greg and Scott, you've got me effectively respectful of tropical weather now. 2 days without power is quite a lot of time.

Posted by: Laura in NWDC | September 1, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Laura--even though I was without power for seven days after Isabel hit, I would--gulp--do it all over again. Though the storm was not very powerful by the time it came through the DC area, it was still amazing to see just what a tropical storm is cracked up to be. I more than understand where you're coming from; in fact, if the NHC said that Hannah would be coming our way, I might even get excited.

Tropical storms and hurricanes are deadly events, but should Hannah hit as a tropical storm, I would find it a RELATIVELY safe opportunity to learn a little bit about weather. Besides, there's always the chance of school closings. :-)

Posted by: mcleaNed | September 1, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Personally I see nothing wrong with wishing to see a tropical storm and experience it first hand..but just be ready to except the repercussions of the storm. I'm with you Laura that if you haven't seen a tropical system first hand it is definitely something to experience. I clearly remember Isabel in 03', there was major coastal flooding a half mile down the street from my house, and we were out of power for two days. Everyone knows what damage comes along with these storms, in this area power outages are certainly the leading damage.
This discussion brings up a question for me, and it is this: Why do we wish to experience nature's worst weather, even though this weather causes innumerable damages? I mean all you had to do today was turn on the TV and every major news channel had constant coverage of Gustav, oh yeah and than there's the weather channel. But this idea extends to more than just tropical weather, there's also tornadoes(and those who chase them)and in this area especially winter weather storms. Now obviously we are a society enthralled with everyone else's problems and that has a lot to do with the coverage of natural disasters/extreme weather. However I tend to believe we somehow want to experience these things ourselves, just to see the raw power of nature, that I think we forget exists so very often. These storms remind us that we are subject to nature no matter how strong of houses or any other means of defense we build. Perhaps if we tried to build with nature and learn from nature we would avoid some of the major amounts of damage that we incur in extreme weather. Just a thought.

Posted by: arnoldkh | September 1, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Arnold: It's all about the school closings. :-)

Well, not really. But is it naive and horribly ignorant of me to say that there's something exciting about even the most destructive weather? Sure, I wouldn't want to experience a tornado or Category 5, but I'm excited when we get a major cold front or a 5"+ rainstorm. Those kinds of things show us just how amazing weather can be, though in the DC area, we're often hard pressed for meteorological action.

Posted by: mcleaNed | September 1, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

My summer job ended today, which means I got to follow Gustav even though it was 9 AM! Goodbye office. Ike is worth watching, but Hanna is what we should be worried about. Or waiting for. The lawns need you, Hanna.

I've decided that when I post rainfall and snowfall measurements it would be too annoying to keep posting my location, so I will change my name to simply Sterling.

Posted by: Model Monkey- Sterling | September 1, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

As someone who has grown up with hurricanes,including being in S. Florida when Andrew hit, and experiencing a powerful typhoon as well, I say no thanks on any future cat 3 or higher hurricane experiences. I do think it is human nature though to wonder about such things and to have that curiosity to experience weather you know can be dangerous.

Posted by: Snowlover2! | September 1, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Rishi: Sorry for the delay in responding. The good news is that models currently show Hanna being a fast mover... so it may be out of here by Saturday afternoon... But timing these things precisely this far out is nearly impossible. So you'll need to wait a couple days for more confidence. You should have a backup plan.

Posted by: Jason, Capital Weather Gang | September 1, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Interesting track on Hanna as of 11 p.m.

Would put us at just about the front right quadrant of the storm, or it's remnants. This could make for an interesting late week forecast.

Posted by: Havoc | September 1, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

We may benefit from the rains from Hanna, but I suspect that as parched as the ground has been lately, we will have quite a bit of runoff. I went through Isabel too, as well as Floyd in '99 and Fran in '96, when it came so far inland that it flooded my college campus in the Shenandoah Valley. We were one of the lucky ones during Isabel - we did not lose our power - but my sister in McLean was not so lucky. It's thrilling, and sometimes terrifying (particularly the high winds), but you never know how bad it's going to be until it hits, so as others have said, be careful what you wish for.

My in-laws rode out Danny and Elena when they lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They were without power for 3 weeks. They left the Gulf Coast in the late 80s, and the house they lived in down there was destroyed by Katrina. Needless to say, they are not so fond of hurricanes and tropical storms.

Posted by: Jaradel | September 2, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

are any of them coming close to arkansas

Posted by: sarah | September 2, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

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