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

Hanna to Pack a Punch for Metro Area

By Andrew Freedman

*Tropical Storm Watch in effect for entire metro area and Eastern Shore*

*Flash Flood Watch in effect for entire metro area. Potential for 3-6" of rain Saturday morning through afternoon.*

Image shows extent of Hanna's tropical storm force wind field (as much as 315 miles) in orange. The light orange shading along the mid-Atlantic coast indicates the areas under tropical storm watches. The blue shading along the Carolina coast represents tropical storm warnings. Courtesy National Hurricane Center.

Update 11 p.m.: Not much new to report. Hanna looks a little healthier on satellite imagery and that may portend some modest strengthening. It is now 540 miles south-southeast of Wilmington, moving northwest at 14 mph. Maximum winds remain at 65 mph.

As of 8 p.m. tropical storm Hanna was located about 580 miles south-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina. It was moving northwest at 14 miles per hour, and had top winds of 65 mph. The intensity of the storm has not changed much during the day today, and the storm is not expected to intensify significantly before it makes landfall.

Hanna is still anticipated to make landfall early Saturday in North Carolina, and then hug the coast as it races northeast.

Therefore, the forecast is becoming clearer for Tropical Storm Hanna's impacts on our weekend weather, and the Baltimore/Washington corridor and points to the east stand to get a healthy dose of windswept rain for much of the day on Saturday, provided the storm follows its projected track. The strongest winds would be felt the farther east you go from I-95, but even in D.C. there may be gusts of 40 to 60 mph on Saturday.

Keep reading for detailed information about Hanna's potential impacts on the area.

These winds would be sufficient to down tree limbs and cause power outages.

Hanna may also bring heavy rain (which may extend further west than the strong winds), with about 3 to 6 inches currently forecast to fall in about an eight hour period. Therefore, street and small stream flooding are likely, but widespread major flooding is not anticipated.

The Weather Service is projecting two to four feet of storm surge along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay and the tidal Potomac River on Saturday. The high tides to watch occur on Saturday morning and evening, but only minor coastal flooding is anticipated.

A good way to envision how to prepare for tropical storm Hanna is to consider it similar to a strong nor'easter, except that it will be hitting in late summer when the leaves are still on the trees, thereby making them more vulnerable to damage. Make sure you have items to see you through a power outage - flashlights, batteries, battery-operated radio, and canned goods. If you are located along the eastern shore or in southern Maryland, you may wish to consider boarding up your windows due to the higher likelihood of strong winds.

Stay tuned for another brief update on Hanna at around 11 p.m. and a comprehensive outlook tomorrow morning at 5 a.m.

Track Hanna and Ike 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 Andrew Freedman  | September 4, 2008; 11:15 PM ET
Categories:  Floods, High Winds, Tropical Weather, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Still Hot as Hanna Moves Closer
Next: Hanna Heading to Region With Heavy Rains, Wind


Please define Southern Maryland for the purposes of: "you may wish to consider boarding up your windows..." Does that include Bethesda?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

One thing to note about this system is the impressive qp footprint.

Hugo back in 1989 was a much stronger system, but had a weak precip. shadow.

Rain is moving in on Melbourne, even though the center is more than 200 miles e.s.e.

This could be a factor in the mid Atlantic on Sat.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | September 4, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

No...this does not include Bethesda, but rather the part of Maryland east of the Chesapeake Bay and south of Delaware...and mainly for locations on the water.

Posted by: Jason, Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Bring on the rain and wind. We can definitely use a good soaking.

Posted by: Period | September 4, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

How about just the rain?!

In spite of my husband's assurance that I'm crazy, I finally went out and bought bottled water and some disposable plates and stuff today. I figure things aren't going to be too bad at all, but if we lose power for a day or a water main breaks, I'd rather be as comfortable as possible.

I know we've lost trees in storms that had less wind and rain where we are near Rock Creek Park, so I am anticipating at least some power outages if the current track holds.

At the Superfresh where I went, they had a display right in the front of the store with the most expensive bottled water they carry, some lighters, lighter fluid, and other relevant stuff. I had to walk all over the store to find the cheaper water.

Posted by: Laura in NWDC | September 4, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Posting this well in advance, but:
Above is the link to the Dominion Power outages map. If your electricity's still on after the storm hits, try opening up the above site and seeing how the power grid is looking in Virginia.

Posted by: mcleaNed | September 4, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks mcleaNed: doubt there will be widespread regional outages with this level of storm--but still we'll have power out in spots through the area. no doubt. Your link will be helpful!

Posted by: Camden, Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere (Jeff Masters' Weather Underground blog?) this afternoon indicated that Hanna was looking subtropical, with the strongest winds in two places if I recall correctly. One batch of wind was about 100 miles from the center.

So, if Hanna stays this way, I suppose it is possible that we here in DC could see pretty strong winds even though the center is well to our east. (CWG please correct me if I am wrong).

Posted by: Murre | September 4, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

My bad, Jeff Masters' blog said that the strongest *rains*, not winds, were well away from the center.

Posted by: Murre | September 4, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

What's the projected impact on Virginia Beach? We're supposed to arrive there Friday evening for a family function and were planning to stay through Sunday.

Posted by: Doc | September 4, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Although I hope I get left out of power outages, I don't want to miss the wind and especially the rain. Does anyone know how far to the east tropical storm force winds are from Hanna's center?

Models are in fairly good agreement about taking Hanna over Southern Maryland. It will be interesting to see if the bay allows Hanna to maintain some of its integrity.

GFS, NOGAPS, and some other models show Ike making a right-hand turn as it nears the Bahamas. It's still fairly far out, but it bears watching.

Posted by: Sterling | September 4, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Sorry. I meant how far to the WEST tropical storm force winds are from Hanna's center.

Posted by: Sterling | September 4, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

NWS spit-out for Bowie says "Very windy, with a east wind 38 to 41 mph". Of course gusts will be higher.

Sounds like power outages will definitely be likely, especially considering how puny the US electrical grid is.

Posted by: jtf | September 4, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Tropical storm force winds look to extend not that far directly west of the center (50 miles or so), but easily 150 miles northwest of the center.

Posted by: Jason, Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I just moved to Silver Spring. I have the flashlight and the battery powered/hand cranked weather radio and plenty of food. Should I get bottled water? Or would that be going overboard?

Posted by: ep | September 4, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

ep: Bottled water would not be going overboard, and if you don't use it for Hanna, it may come in handy down the road when another storm event crops up.

Posted by: Andrew Freedman, Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the wind field, NHC noted at 11 p.m. that Hanna's wind field may contract closer to the center if it strengthens a bit.

Posted by: Andrew Freedman, Capital Weather Gang | September 4, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Jason (Capital Weather Gang),

You've got Southern Maryland all wrong! True - it doesn't include Bethesda and is surrounded by water-ways, but it is generally considered the portion of Maryland South of DC, South of Annapolis, and WEST of the Chesapeake Bay. I have many SMIB friends who would be appalled by your misrepresentation.


Posted by: Mickey | September 5, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Mickey-- My intent was not to provide a geographical description of "Southern Maryland" but simply describe the area Andrew was referring to with respect to where winds will be strongest and that'll probably east of the Bay!

Posted by: Jason, Capital Weather Gang | September 5, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Will West Virginia be affected?

Posted by: dipsy | September 5, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

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