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September 4, 2008

Hanna heads for Carolinas; Ike a Cat. 4

NOAA

Another sunny day in the 90s today. You'd never know we had two tropical storms to worry about. Tropical Storm Hanna has circled around and is now making a beeline for the Carolina coast with winds that are forecast to reach hurricane strength before landfall early Saturday morning. Out on the Atlantic, meanwhile, Hurricane Ike is now a fierce Cat. 4 storm with top sustained winds of 140 mph.

Here's a satellite loop showing both storms - Hanna in the Bahamas, and Ike - with a clearly defined eye - entering at the right side of the screen. 

Hanna is first. A hurricane watch has been posted for most of the South Carolina coast, and a portion of the North Carolina shore. The watch means that folks there should prepare for hurricane conditions within 36 hours. Here's the latest advisory.

The storm's center early this morning was 770 miles south-southeast of Wilmington, N.C. It was tracking toward the northwest at 12 mph. Top sustained winds were blowing at 70 mph with "slight" strengthening expected prior to landfall. At 73 mph Hanna would become a minimal Cat. 1 hurricane.

The most notable thing about Hanna is her size. Forecasters describe Hanna as "large and robust." Tropical storm-force winds extend nearly 300 miles outward from the storm's center. The storm surge ahead of this storm will run 1 to 3 feet above normal tides.

The forecast track would carry Hanna up the coast, passing just offshore from Ocean City around mid-day Saturday. Our forecast calls for 3 inches of rain or more in Baltimore before the storm races off to the notheast.

With the storm's center to our east, that will mean our winds would be from the north at 13 to 23 mph. That would blow water out of the Chesapeake and spare bayshore residents any serious flooding from the bay. Street flooding and high water in the streams and creeks may be another matter to watch for. Here's today's local weather story by Scott Calvert.

Then there's Ike, the most powerful storm of the seaon to date. Ike this morning was 550 miles northeast of the Leeward islands, headed west-northwest at 17 mph. The storm was expected to turn a bit toward the west and west-southwest in the next few days, but no one was predicting where it would strike land.

From space, Ike was a thing of beauty. Top sustained winds were howling at 145 mph with higher gusts. Forecasters said:

"THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY
FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE.  IT IS
EXPECTED THAT IKE WILL MAINTAIN CATEGORY FOUR OR CATEGORY THREE
INTENSITY OVER THE NEXT 48 HOURS."

The forecast storm track carries it into the Bahamas, with a subsequent curve to the northwest and the southeastern coast of the U.S. Here's Ike:

NOAA

 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 7:18 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

Comments

You know, as a weather geek, Hanna, not unlike the other females in my life, she has made me wait and wait and likely wiill ultimately dissapoint. (just kidding my dear wife) Everything was perfectly set up for our area to actually get impacted by a relatively strong tropical storm. Unfortunatley, Hanna decided to hang in the islands a few extra days and now it looks like the cold front to the east will push her just off the coast. Of course, this is great as our homes will not be damaged and all our loved ones will be safe, but I really thought this was going to be the best tropical storm I saw in my life, and yes, I was very excited about that. I know I'm not alone here. The Weather Geeks out there agree. The good news is that Ike is looking like it will be following a similar path.

Frank, can you look into your crystal ball and tell us that this time next week, we'll be getting ready for this storm??

FR: Jeff, I love a good storm as much as anyone. But as a person who has known flooded basements and fallen giant oaks in his time, I don't wish hurricanes on anyone. I certainly can't predict what Ike will do, but I do know that, given enough time, we will know Hazels and Isabels. But one every 50 years is quite enough, thank you. Speaking of Hazel, anybody out there old enough to remember that storm in 1954, and all the Isabel-like flooding around the harbor and the bay shores? Leave a comment with your recollections.

Floods and wind damage can be devastating, although I'm not old enough for Hazel, I have experienced both. One of the beauties of this storm was it was forecasted to go through our area quickly, thus limiting the potential for floods, and with Tropical Storm winds after traveling over 300 miles of land would doubtfully be powerful enough to top a strong oak. I hear you though, but I still would like to experience one of the awesome forces that nature provides.

Stay safe and dry this weekend everyone! I just got back from NOLA where I was advising the municipality on chlorinated their water supply (Chlorine makes drinking water safe and has been used in drinking water for about 100 years). I don't think Hanna will be as bad but you never know.

I was a teenager when Hazel
swept ashore. We had just gone to the nearest town to shop for our new home, We bought (2) small end tables,and walked down the street,.the wind sucked one of the endtables out of our hands and we raced after the legs to the table, and retrieved them just in time. .

I was born and raised in the DC area in the 1950s and remember that almost each year through the 50's into the early 60's a large and destructive hurricane blew through. The East Coast has been lucky that the storm pattern changed so the storms went elsewhere. Was intense time.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff
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