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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.

Vitals

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).

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Weather

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:

VERY DRY AIR ASSOCIATED WITH THE UPPER-LEVEL LOW OVER THE
NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS IS CHOKING OFF CONVECTION NEAR THE CORE OF
HANNA…AND THE CYCLONE HAS A VERY SUBTROPICAL APPEARANCE.
CONVECTION HAS DIMINISHED SUBSTANTIALLY OVER THE PAST 6-12 HOURS
AND THE HIGHEST FLIGHT-LEVEL AND SFMR WINDS HAVE COME DOWN AS WELL.
BASED ON SOME 52 KT SFMR WINDS AROUND 11Z…THE INITIAL INTENSITY
IS LOWERED TO 55 KT.

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.