Hanna to Blast Region with Rain and Wind
7:00 a.m. update: Hanna made landfall near the South Carolina and North Carolina border early this morning as a strong tropical storm. The heaviest rain is west and north of the center of the storm which is now just south of Goldsboro, North Carolina. The heavy rain bands now extend into central Virginia to near Charlottesville. These bands will surge to the north-northeast this morning, with rain starting to pick up in the metro area by around 8 a.m. Rainfall totals of several inches remain likely.
Winds may be less than forecast earlier. Observations in eastern North Carolina indicate sustained winds are generally in the 30-40 mph range. The strongest gust I could find in the last hour was 58 mph (in Beaufort, N.C.). With the storm weakening and passing to our east as it moves north, our winds probably will be less than that...likely in 15-30 mph range, perhaps gusting in the 40s. Near the Bay and eastward (closer to the center of the storm), winds should be about 10 mph stronger. Our peak winds will likely occur in early afternoon rain bands.
From 5 a.m.: The weather will slowly but surely deteriorate this morning as the core of Tropical Storm Hanna powers through the metro area. Between about 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., the rain may be extraordinarily heavy at times, and winds may reach or exceed tropical storm force (39 mph). Rainfall totals will likely average 2-4", but locally higher amounts are very likely.
Keep checking back for updates all day long. Continue reading for a timeline, rainfall potential map, wind assessment and frequently asked questions.
STORM FAQ [UPDATED AT 7 A.M.]
How strong will the winds be? Could there be wind damage and power outages?
Occasional strong gusts of over 50 mph could be capable of bringing down some tree limbs and power lines especially east of I-95. Isolated to scattered power outages are possible in the metro area. Scattered outages possible near the Bay and to the east.
What precautions should I take?
No need to board up windows. But do ensure outdoor furniture and plants are secured and/or brought inside. Does your sump pump work if your basement leaks? Have a flashlight handy in case the power goes out, and food and supplies that could last you and your family through a day or two without power, which is probably the worst-case scenario we would see with this storm. Here are a couple additional useful tips:
*Turning your fridge and freezer temperatures lower ahead of time and placing a 2-liter bottle of water in the freezer can help keep food colder longer if the power goes out.
*Remember to charge your cell phones and laptops.
Confidence is toward the high side because most computer models are in agreement on Hanna's track. It's doubtful the storm will miss us. There's a small chance it could veer further east than expected and thus leave us with less rain and slightly weaker winds. There is also the chance that Hanna tracks somewhat further west than forecast, shifting the areas of heaviest rain and strongest winds west.
What is the flooding threat?
Widespread, major flooding is not anticipated. But basements, roadways and other low-lying areas that are typically prone to flooding will be at risk, as Hanna could dump several inches of rain in a very short period of time. Stay up-to-date with river levels and flood alerts for area rivers here.
Could there be a tidal surge along the Potomac?
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 today. The high tides to watch occur this morning and evening, but only minor coastal flooding is anticipated.
Could there be tornadoes?
It's not unusual for tropical storm to spawn at least a few tornadoes especially east of their center. As the metro area will be west of the center, an outbreak of tornadoes does not seem likely and if they occur, they would likely be east of the Bay. Stay tuned to Capital Weather Gang during the storm. We'll let you know if any tornado warnings are issued by the National Weather Service.
When and where will the conditions be the worst?
Along and east of I-95, late morning through mid-afternoon Saturday.
Will flights be affected?
Most likely yes. Expect delays and even some cancellations due to the impact of the storm up and down the East Coast. Check your flight before heading to the airport and/or see the FAA Flight Delay Web site.
Is it safe to drive?
Driving tomorrow will be comparable to driving in a gusty summer thunderstorm at times with driving rain and gusty winds. It can be done, but visibility will be reduced and it will take you longer to reach your destination. Reduced visibility, wet pavement and the possibility of debris on the roadway all increase the risk of accidents. These risks can be lowered by skillful and cautious driving.
How bad will this be at the Maryland/Delaware beaches?
Sustained winds of 30-40 mph and gusts to 50-60 mph could mean some flying debris, scattered power outages and moderate beach erosion. Rainfall, on the other hand, should be less than here in the metro area. Probably no more than 1-2".
Will this be as bad as Isabel?
No...at least in terms of wind. Isabel produced sustained winds up to near 50 mph in parts of the area and gusts to near 80 mph. Hanna's winds will be weaker. Storm surges will also be lower with Hanna than they were with Isabel.
When will the storm clear and what's the forecast for Sunday and beyond?
The rain should be over, or quickly coming to an end, and winds dissipating by this evening, with clearing skies Saturday night and lows in the 60s. Sunday looks spectacular -- mostly sunny and breezy with highs in the upper 80s and decreasing humidity. Monday should also be nice, again mostly sunny with highs in the mid 80s and not too humid. Tuesday brings the next chance of showers and thunderstorms (about a 30-40% chance as of now) with a mix of sun and clouds and highs in the 80s.View image
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