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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 09/ 4/2008

Hanna Struggles; Local Impacts Difficult to Pinpoint

By Capital Weather Gang

Exact track will decide weather for late Friday & Saturday

Latest forecast track for Hanna. Courtesy National Hurricane Center

Dry air and moderate wind shear have prevented Tropical Storm Hanna from strengthening, and in fact as of 11 a.m. she is slightly weaker than earlier this morning, with maximum sustained winds near 65 mph. Still, a more favorable environment for strengthening could allow Hanna to reach hurricane strength before making landfall on the Southeast coast, probably late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Meanwhile, Ike is a Category 4 hurricane with winds near 140 mph, but is several days away from being a threat to the U.S.

As frustrating as it may be for everyone trying to plan their weekend, it remains too soon to pinpoint exactly what impacts Hanna will have on the metro area, though heavy rain, thunderstorms and gusty winds are a possibility for a good portion of the region.

Keep reading for more information on the potential effects of Hanna on our area and an interactive tracking map. See our full forecast for the outlook into early next week.

All computer models forecast it will track east of the metro area, somewhere between Annapolis, Md. and offshore the Maryland/Delaware beaches, and the National Hurricane Center forecast track has remained mostly unchanged during the past 24 hours. A track too far offshore could mean we experience little or no impact from Hanna. But if Hanna's track is east of the District but west of the coast, the metro area would be meaningfully impacted. Here's a preliminary guide of what to expect....

  • The strongest winds will be near and east of the Chesapeake Bay. Tropical storm force winds, power outages and wind damage are most likely in those areas.
  • Heavy rains are possible, especially along and east of I-95 where several inches could fall.
  • Some coastal flooding is possible at North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Beaches.
  • As long as the center of Hanna tracks east of the metro area, the threat of severe thunderstorms containing tornadoes is low.
  • Hanna will be a fast mover and would most likely impact the region in a 12-18 hour span between late Friday and Saturday afternoon.

That's the latest for now. Until the threat of Hanna passes, we'll keep you posted with frequent updates.

Track Hanna and other tropical systems with the interactive map below.

Powered by hurricane-tracking software from Forecast tracks are the latest from the National Hurricane Center. Pan, zoom, and click on points along the storm's projected track for intensity forecasts.

By Capital Weather Gang  | September 4, 2008; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Heat & Humidity Precede Hanna
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Thanks to Jason for answering my wedding-related question the other day. Thing is, it's next Sat.(the 13th) thankfully, so i'm really worried about Ike. Can anyone tell me whether (or provide link) Ike is expected to affect our area, i.e. track up the east coast or head to the GOM?
Many thanks in advance!

Posted by: Rishi | September 4, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I disagree that Hanna has weakened further this morning (beyond weakening last night). The pressure (989 mb) remains unchanged. The structure has improved somewhat with outflow expanding in the west quadrant. Now if we can get rid of the dry air Hanna should strengthen.

Posted by: Mike | September 4, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

As Havoc posted yesterday, it looks as though Hanna is a probable "bust". I just can't see a lot of organization in the next 36 hours.

We might see up to an inch of rain here just west of I-395 on Saturday, but some of this rain could be from the front west of us, which contains some of Gustav's remnants embedded within. I see more of a lightning threat from this cold front than from Hanna.

On the other hand, Ike is a potential threat to the area, but may be out of here before Rishi's wedding on the 13th. Ike's track is more uncertain, and it may pass well south and west of our area.

Right now I have 86F, 30.02 rising. There has been some Ac castellanus yesterday evening and this morning, and I wouldn't be surprised if an isolated thundershower pops up somewhere over the Blue Ridge this afternoon. The atmosphere is probably capped which should keep any shower activity minimal.

Posted by: El Bombo | September 4, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

What a parade of 'canes and storms. Hanna, Josephine, and Ike. Sounds like a list of presidential candidates!

Posted by: Bernie | September 4, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Please note:

If Hanna gets coupled with the approaching front, it's typical for tropical storms undergoing extratropical transition for the heaviest rainfall to be west of the storm track. The latest WRF/NAM model prediction seems very realistic in this regard - note the apparent frontal rain merge with Hanna precipitation Saturday afternoon (between the 54 and 60 hour graphics at:

Posted by: Steve Tracton | September 4, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Any possible predictions on storm surge and related flooding in the Chesapeake Bay yet? Thank you.

Posted by: Thom | September 4, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, El Bombo! Now i just have to keep my eye on Josephine!

Posted by: Rishi | September 4, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Steve -- I really don't know what 'extratropical transistion' means and I can't make heads or tails of the latest WRF/NAM model, but I get the feeling it doesn't bode well for our immediate area. And Ike just looks like a bad a**.

Posted by: weatherwomanwannabe | September 4, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting how much Hanna has resembled a subtropical storm, with an expansive wind field. This may come into play when it passes east of D.C., meaning that it's possible that the tropical storm force winds won't be confined right at the coast (depending on the path and storm structure at that point). It's impacts rather would more closely resemble a strong extratropical low taking a coastal track.

Posted by: Andrew Freedman, Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

This note from the Hurricane Center relates to the comment I posted: "BECAUSE OF THE LARGE...SPRAWLING NATURE OF THE CIRCULATION...THE EXACT TRAJECTORY OF THE

Posted by: Andrew Freedman, Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Ike is a bad a**! On IR sat. look at cloud temperature difference between the outer fringes and near the eye. That is a machine. For those of you that don't know the mechanics of a hurricane. Hot air rises and cold air falls. Warm air rises around on the outer edge the faster it rises the the more it cools down and the continous rising of air pushes the cooler air toward the center compressing and cooling further cause it to fall. When this denser air falls it like flushing a toilet it spins creating wind. The colder the air the faster it falls. The faster it falls the more it warms up and gets cast away from the center. As it gets further away fromt he center (the eye) it heats up over the warm ocean and repeats. A convection engine that keeps feeding it self.

Posted by: Akmzrzor | September 4, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Accuweather continues to downgrade how much rain DC will see from Hanna. Now saying 1.58" Fri./Sat.

Posted by: steve takoma park md | September 4, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse


Sorry if this is too inside or geeky. Forget the extratropical transition part for now. At the model site provided, click on the >> on the left side of page. Successive clicks forward the loop with the forecast hour on top and actual date on the bottom. At 54 hours (2PM Sat) you'll see a maximum of frontal precipitation (purple) centered on western Maryland and south central PA and Hanna precipitation just to the southeast.

Then click once from there to see the 60 hour forecast (at bottom 00UTC Sunday is really 8PM Saturday evening). Note how the two maxima of rainfall have merged into one - and centered just about over the Metro DC region. However, just a small shift, let's say 50 miles in any direction (well within the range of uncertainty at this range time), we could just as easily miss the heavy rainfall as soaked from it.

Stay tuned

Posted by: Steve Tracton | September 4, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Some posters seem to WANT one or more of these storms to "impact" [sic] our area. What's wrong with them? Don't they realize that tropical storms mean real misery for many? Do they take some perverse delight in the suffering caused by flooded basements, power outages, downed trees, etc? It makes me mad.

Posted by: Dave | September 4, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

If Palin who has this incredibly wacky, ignorant views on issues such as the global warming and protection of endangered species, ever gets into the White House, we should all worry very very much about the environmental future of America and the world. She makes Bush seem like a conservative environmentalist by comparison.

Posted by: thisworld | September 4, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

when you disrespect the earth by constant neglect, pollution, greed for oil, over development, minimal conservation and recycling efforts, displacing the animals, destroying their natural habitats, etc., you can only expect the earth to do what is necessary to heal itself. at least it can do something to counteract mankind's irreverence for it's nurturing. Mankind does not own the earth, you are simply here as caretakers. the storms are a reminder of the little power you have over nature and to finally humble yourselves enough to pay attention and take real action to stop or slow global warming. this government is giving people the right to disregard the fact that nature takes care of us. now it's time to take care of it.

Posted by: Michele | September 4, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully we will get some rain, as it is needed but not so much that we'll have power outages, and all the problems that accompany a situation like this. Since I have been living here for a long time, I know from experience how panicked we can get, not as individual but as a community.Lets be calm,safe, and vigilant this weekend and everything will be just fine.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

thisworld, Michele -- Welcome. We ask our readers to try to stay on topic. This particular post has nothing to do with global warming or politics.

Posted by: Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Palin and McCain are both out of touch with what Americans need with regard to the environment. They need to see the danger in relentless drilling for oil, in Alaska or elsewhere. Alaska's frontier in diminishing, the polar ice is melting. A huge piece of the ice shelf broke this week in Canada. The water levels are increasing in some areas and decreasing significantly in other areas. The world's water supply is in danger and the storms are bringing water to areas that need it but just not the way people expect it to happen. Palin and McCain ain't seen nothin' yet.

Posted by: Kim | September 4, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Thom: Weather Service guidance suggests minor flooding potential with water 1-2 feet above normal.

Posted by: Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Is it going to rain all day on saturday? or will there be breaks in between? I know its still to early to tell, but I would like some idea as to what to expect. Thank you.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

We need a war on hurricanes,
Brian Sandler

I recently received a patent on a machine designed to destroy hurricanes.
At my website there is a complete description of the machine.
Please contact me at the above address if you have any questions.
Brian Sandler

Posted by: Brian Sandler | September 4, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Stay safe and dry over there this weekend!

Posted by: Becky in Ohio | September 4, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Mike you sound like you were disappointed "I disagree that Hanna has weakened further this morning..." and that you be excited for Hanna to become a major storm..... "Now if we can get rid of the dry air". Geez man keep those things at bay. If dry air fends off the strength of one... you want as much of that was we can get. We have been fortunate enough not to have to deal with a hurricane in Atlanta but I really feel for the people that have had to leave their homes, and feel more for the ones that have lost everything. I'm sure your tone would change if you and your family ever was affected.

Posted by: Jeff | September 4, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the forecast -- I hope this one is not too damaging. Just FYI, I do some work with chlorine and drinking water (exciting, I know!), and if the drinking water gets muddied from the storm, the best way the cleanse and make it safe is a drop of chlorine -- chlorine has actually made our water safe for about 100 years now. Let's all hope the storm passes and its a moot point.

Posted by: Ike | September 4, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

This is Mr. Foot from Dundalk, MD.

A nice summary of the situation, but I disagree that it is too early to tell what impact on the metro area this storm will have.

DC and Baltimore will almost surely see noticeable wind of 25 mph or greater. Remember with a decaying tropical system the wind field expands, but does not strengthen. You guys know this stuff.

And rain...Sterling is watching the models continue to show the west side as the greater rain producer.

Guys, how about "wind-swept rain?" Is that too far-fetched? Compare the tracks to Floyd and Gloria. While those storms were stronger, they were farther offshore. If Hanna tracks as projected, you'll have a weaker storm but CLOSER with a larger wind field.

You guys are read far more widely than me. You gotta take a stand on this storm, the DC readers need it. Time to step up to the plate and put your ideas out there.

Posted by: Mr. Foot | September 4, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

So you aren't going to let people post anti-Obama comments just anti-Palin comments, that's pretty weak, but that is what most people expect from the WP. She must have really struck a cord, and the realization is sinking in that the Dems may not actually win this election. The high-pitched shrieking begins even on a weather website . . .

Posted by: Uncle Dak | September 4, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

If hannah does come thru on Saturday, I either want her out of Richmond by 5 p.m., or completely out of the region by Sunday. I have a race to get in before a flight on monday...and if they can't get it in Saturday, they'll try Sunday...and I can't spend all day down there. LOL.

Ike is scary...looking at the possibilities, it looks like Florida is going to get hammered, it is just a matter of when, where, and how hard. My folks are loading a moving van on Tuesday to head to Charlottesville, so I hope it holds off at least until Wednesday so they get out of town.

Posted by: Kim in manassas | September 4, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

If you have difficulty accessing the interesting model that was referenced by Steve Tracton, this is a better link:

The previous link had an extraneous parenthesis attached.

Posted by: Correction To Link | September 4, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't think people wanting Hanna to get stronger are wishing for death and devestation. Just like there are tornado chasers there are hurricane junkies. All they want to do is witness the awesome power of nature.

Posted by: akmzrazor | September 4, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Foot -- Our full forecast has our best estimate of local conditions on Saturday:

"Though the exact track of Hanna is yet to be determined, it would be prudent to plan for potentially rainy, windy (20-40+ mph) and stormy weather during much of the day Saturday; the greatest effects will likely be to the east of DC."

Will add some text to reflect this, and there's a link to our full forecast before the jump.

Posted by: Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

In an effort to epand our weather geek-ness, I'll mention what looks to be some interesting possibilities for our area on Saturday afternoon. Hanna should be moving N-NE into the area just ahead of an apporaching upper-level trough. Depending on Hanna's structure and tropical status when she nears, this may actually lead to a strengthening over land by adding(science geek alert) angular momentum to the storm. Several of the models currently suggest this may occur. Still, strengthening doesn't mean a hurricane for us, I still don't see sustained winds over 20-25 mph for most of us, from a meteorologists perspective, its freakin' cool!

Posted by: Brian, Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Re: Mr. Foot -- Also, we did start getting specific with a first call (ballpark estimates) on wind and rain in this post yesterday.

Posted by: Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, "correction to link".

I had not realized there was a problem with the extra parentheses.

Posted by: Steve Tracton | September 4, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I thought I had a slow day but then I came across this article and comments! LOL!

Posted by: Whocares | September 4, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Steve -- Thanks! I think.

Posted by: weatherwomanwannabe | September 4, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JOe | September 4, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Uncle Dak, CWG unfortunately does not delete political content from its comments section, whether it is anti-Palin or anti-Obama. The fact that your quite presumptuous post is still up there makes that clear.

Back to the weather, this is the most confusing hurricane ever. It seems like the average of all of the various and diverse predictions I've heard teeters right on the edge of "no big deal" and "big branches could fall and knock out power." I wonder: if we achieve some sort of mean of all of the predictions out there, would that mean be more or less intense (in terms of downed trees, power lines, etc)than a severe thunderstorm?

Posted by: Laura in NWDC | September 4, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Man, can't wait for this. Might be a doozy it seems. One tip - I do some work for the American Chemistry Council, and I've been told numerous times that in case any of your water supplies get tainted, use some chlorine to get the pollutants out of the H20. It's a safe and very effective way to purify your water. Just a tip.

Posted by: Keith Jackson | September 4, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Hanna Might hit ct as soon as tonight into tomorrow morning or afternoon!!!!! If I had a boat for every 3$ I would have 3 boats (Funny huh huh huh huh yeah VERY FUNNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) P.S. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!) If you read this pleaz write bach A.S.A.P)

Posted by: Eric Beaudoin | September 6, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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