The final word on Hanna; Ike approaches

Full Path of Hanna, From Genesis to End

After Tropical Storm Hanna gave us some much-needed rain Friday, it turned northeast and hit hyperspeed and has made conditions quite interesting going up the Eastern seaboard, dumping a lot of rain and causing some brief flooding issues from North Carolina up into New Hampshire. It’s lost tropical characteristics now, and the Hurricane Center has issued the final advisory for Hanna, which will go down as a reasonably bizarre, devil of a storm to try to predict.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Hanna actually did have some winds. Francis Shepherd had some videos of some of Hanna’s wind and rain from Deltaville, VA on Saturday morning. While the winds didn’t seem too exceptionally strong in those videos, that’s certainly more than I saw from my humble abode in West Ashley.

Ike Satellite Photo

Hurricane Ike lashed a Hanna-ravaged Turks and Caicos Islands and is going to give the Bahamas quite a ride today before it slams into Cuba, likely maintaining Category 4 strength throughout. Evacuations have been underway in the Florida Keys for the last day or two; first, tourists were asked to leave, and now residents are being evacuated as the Keys are under a hurricane watch. They likely won’t see the brunt of Ike’s fury, but even Category 2 winds can cause severe problems on the Keys.

From there, it’s anybody’s guess where Ike will end up. Here’s the path, which could point it anywhere from south of Texas to just to the west of Pensacola.

Hurricane Ike:  Projected Path, 11am 09/07

The forecast has Ike taking a beating from Cuba, but eventually getting it back together in the Gulf and becoming a Category 3 again. Ike’s got folks along the Gulf Coast worried, and rightfully so; this could be a force to be reckoned with through this week. A lot of the folks I followed for Gustav are watching Ike extremely closely, and making preparations now just in case. While it shouldn’t affect us in the Carolinas, thankfully, we’ll be watching the Gulf Coast closely, hoping folks there get out of harm’s way.


11PM advisory: Lifting northward

Hanna’s starting to lift northward of Charleston. The 11PM fix put it roughly about 60 miles east-southeast of Charleston, and I’m willing to bet it’s pulled even or even slightly north of Charleston now, based on some of the radar I’ve been looking at. The advisory also says that it’s moving north at 20; however, I’m seeing strong indications that the turn to the northeast has begun and is now moving in that direction. Landfall is expected just north of Myrtle Beach within the next few hours.

The advisory canceled the tropical storm warning south of Edisto; I could see this being whittled back even further as time goes on. The Hurricane Watch for our area was also discontinued. There’s a chance Hanna could still become a hurricane — it’s been trying to form an eyewall for the past couple hours, and the pressure is as low as you’ll ever see for a tropical storm — but shear is and dry air are giving it one hell of a fight.

Hanna’s dropped plenty of beneficial rain on the Charleston area. The usual spate of flooding has happened; but this happens whenever it rains normally, much less when a tropical system swings through.

I’ll be interested to hear what comes of the postmortem from Hanna. This has been one heck of a storm for many reasons, whether it be its odd track deviations or its odd strengthening habits. It’s been a great learning experience, as well.

I probably won’t be awake for landfall. Here’s hoping that folks in Myrtle Beach and throughout North Carolina come through alright; I suspect things will be okay, though. This storm’s moving incredibly quickly, so widespread flooding won’t be a major issue, and the winds probably won’t get past Category 1, much less tropical storm force.

For now, this will sign off the advisory-by-advisory posting for the Charleston area for Hanna. I’ve made this official by cracking a beer.

I’ll have a recap of Hanna sometime tomorrow or Sunday; right now, I need rest before coverage ramps up for Ike, which is a damn dangerous, scary, and beautiful storm.


Hanna jogged left

Hanna’s made a very sharp jog to the left which has complicated a lot of things in the forecast. It’s looking more and more that unless the northeast turn happens in the next couple hours from now, landfall will indeed be in northern Charleston County near Awendaw and Bulls Bay. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm as I type this and there is some really interesting data coming back — it looks like the pressure at the center fix is 978 mb. The fix puts the center about 85 miles to the southeast of Charleston. It’s hauling butt, too, and I’m sure that fix is outdated by this writing.

As I write this, a squall associated with the inner core of the storm — which is rapidly regenerating — is coming ashore. The worst may be yet to come…keep tabs in the Charleston Weather broadcast and chat room. Next advisory at 11…


Hanna: A non-event so far


Computer models and forecast tracks aside, so far, Hanna’s been quite a beneficial rainmaker for Charleston, and not much else. I’ve seen some fairly heavy showers come through at times, but the winds have definitely been nothing like what was expected. The winds were actually stronger earlier today; in the last few hours, while the rain has definitely gotten harder and more steady, the wind has just not been where it’s been expected. This could change as the center passes closer at 8:00 (the buoy reports do indicate stronger winds — but nowhere near 70 MPH, either), but by every measure, we should have been in tropical storm force winds by now. This simply has not happened. We’ve gotten much-needed rain — we’re down 8″ here in Charleston — and none of the problems that usually come with it (save for downtown flooding, but that’s not avoidable).

I do suspect things will kick up a bit as the center approaches — judging from the buoy reports I’ve been looking at, we could see 25-35 MPH sustained winds at times — but I think predictions of hurricane conditions in Charleston are far overblown at this point. Everything I’ve seen just does not sustain that.

My faithful Charleston weather watchers and I will continue to keep an eye out in the Charleston Weather broadcast, but it looks like we need to pay much closer attention to Ike and let this glorified late summer nor’easter do its thing. :)


2PM: Hanna headed to hurricane strength again

Hanna’s getting it together in a hurry. The 2PM advisory took it to the threshold of hurricane force — a 70 MPH tropical storm. It’s also started heading north at 20, a bit earlier than the forecast track first pegged it, too — which may have implications for the forecast track at 5PM.

So far there’s been some decent, if short-lived, rain, heavy at times through the area. Bands have stopped and started — typical of a tropical system. A third squall is about to come on shore now; these will increase in frequency and strength as time goes on. Nothing out of the ordinary so far, though. Post some of your observations in comments — I’m curious to see what you’re seeing.

Radar is rolling in the Charleston Weather broadcast, and I’ll have skycam shots at times too. Back to the air I go…


8am: Increasing divergence ahead of landfall

8am Hanna Computer Models

Here’s the 8am model runs. Note the increasing amount of divergence ahead of Hanna’s landfall. There’s still reasonably strong agreement for the Horry County landfall scenario, but I would not be surprised to see the track jog west a bit more before it’s all said and done.

The 8:00 advisory slows Hanna’s forward motion down ever so slightly (to 18 MPH instead of 20). It’s still headed northwest. Winds are still 65 MPH, but the pressure is down a bit more. Satellite imagery is indicating that the shear has backed off some; note the gigantic plume of convection trying to wrap itself around the center. A hurricane at landfall is reemerging as a possibility.

Stay tuned…


5am: Leftward Shift

Tropical Storm Hanna, 5am Advisory:  Forecast Track

Hanna had another trick for us up her sleeve: She accelerated her forward speed to 20 MPH, still heading northwest, and thus the track has shifted left a bit. We’re now looking at a landfall from anywhere from northern Charleston County to Myrtle Beach again, roughly 2am Saturday (though if Hanna continues to accelerate, this timeframe may also speed up).

Hanna 2am Forecast Models

The model consensus bears out a landfall spread roughly from Beaufort back to the NC/SC border, but interestingly enough, the Wilmington landfall that was fairly certain yesterday is no longer even in the cards, according to this run. The 8am runs should shed more light.

The Shift’s Impacts

5am:  Hanna estimated windfield

We can now expect fairly sustained tropical storm force winds in the afternoon through midnight, including winds over 60 MPH at times with gusts near hurricane force, with the worst of the weather coming when it’s dark. The NWS forecast for today calls for 50-60 MPH sustained winds through the night, especially along the coast; those winds can cause power outages, so now’s the time to make sure you’ve got your batteries in place for your flashlight, because it’s a fairly safe bet you’ll need it. The leftward shift also means inland impacts through South and North Carolina will be increased, with the possibility of sustained tropical storm force winds spreading very close to even Greenville, SC now.


5am Hanna Satellite

Hanna’s still a 65 MPH tropical storm, but it’s pressure has dropped to 989 millibars, suggesting that it has strengthened slightly and could continue to do so. The possibility still exists for it to become a minimal hurricane by landfall, though that’s a matter of semantics when dealing with the differences between a minimal hurricane and a strong tropical storm. Its satellite appearance is still not wonderful, but there is a bit of a flareup of storms on the leftward edge, which is captured well by Melbourne’s radar site.

Hanna as seen by KMLB radar site, Melbourne, FL

Continuing Coverage

Coverage continues throughout the day. Stick close to here and Twitter for updates, including on-air times (which may be fairly soon as conditions begin to deteriorate).


The Night Before Hanna

Here’s tonight’s briefing:

We’re down to the wire, folks. Things are looking fairly stable at this point to landfall. The 11PM advisory did not change much at all from the 5PM and 8PM advisories. The track’s pretty much the same (save for the inevitable wobbling tropical systems do as they approach). There’s a chance the wind field may contract a little (see the NHC discussion for more); Hanna’s getting its tropical characteristics a bit more in order. (I’m still shocked it’s not being classified as subtropical, personally…)

The time for speculation is indeed over, though. Now, we wait and see and let Hanna do what she’s going to do.

I’ll start coverage on Charleston Weather at roughly 10:30 to 11:00 tomorrow morning after I catch up on a bit of sleep. Watch this space for blog recaps as conditions deteriorate, and pay close attention to the Charleston Weather Twitter account, as well as my own personal Twitter account. If I should lose power, I’ll still be able to update my Twitter accounts for as long as my BlackBerry has juice. I may charge some backup phones tonight as well, just in case. The chat room is always open for business, and I’ll try to stay in there as long as I can. Tomorrow promises to be interesting.


11am: Hanna barely clinging to tropical characteristics

Hanna’s looking rough this morning. It’s back down to 65 MPH winds, and there’s a lot of speculation that Hanna is becoming extratropical. NHC acknowledges Hanna’s struggle to remain tropical in the discussion:


Here’s the latest track, which returns more to the rightward path that we started seeing emerge during the day yesterday before the 11:00 came out:

The wind field is still pretty broad — 310 miles, to be exact — but largely to the north and northeast. We in Charleston still stand a decent chance of seeing tropical storm force winds for a time, and some rain, but with the dry air influencing the storm as well as the continued rightward bias in the models, impacts along our coast will be lessened.

News 2 reports that Gov. Mark Sanford has called for voluntary evacuations of Horry and Georgetown counties; he also said that Hanna might be a “dress rehearsal for a thing called Ike.” Ike is bothersome to me; I’m crunched for time now but will have more later on.


5am: Hurricane watches now up for the area

5am Hanna Watches

As of 5am, hurricane watches are now up from Surf City, NC, to just north of Hilton Head, SC. Tropical storm watches extend from roughly Hilton Head down to almost the Georgia/Florida border.

Hanna’s still a 65 MPH storm, headed to the northwest at 11 MPH. Its satellite presentation has been less than impressive this morning; however, strengthening is still fairly likely and Category 1 strength at landfall is to be expected.

Tropical Storm Hanna 5am 09/04:  Wind Field

The 5am track speeds up the timeline a bit and shifts landfall slightly left. As of now we’re looking at a landfall a bit closer to the NC/SC border (almost right on top of Wilmington) around 2am Saturday. Tropical storm force winds should begin to arrive in Charleston around noon tomorrow, or so. Today is another clear day, so today is the day to finish your preparations. Conditions will turn drastically downhill as Friday comes along. On the current track — still very subject to change — the center of the storm will probably pass to the east of here from around 7 to 9 PM Friday night. Once this occurs, conditions will begin to improve as Hanna’s not expected to have much on its southwest side.

More after 8 or so with the new model runs and the intermediate advisory.