September 4, 2008: – - As of 2:00 a.m. EDT Thursday, Hanna was still a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 65 mph. Hanna is located near 23.7 north and 72.4 west or about 325 miles east-southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas. Hanna is moving toward the northwest around 13 mph. The estimated central pressure of Hanna is 989 mb or 29.21 inches. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 290 miles, mainly to the north of the center.
A tropical storm warning is now in effect for all of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands. Interests in eastern Cuba, Puerto Rico, the northern Bahamas, the Florida Peninsula and all of the eastern United States should monitor the progress of Hanna.
As the environment around Hanna becomes less hostile, intensification should occur with Hanna reaching hurricane strength, possibly by early Thursday morning. Hanna this morning has become better organized as she moves northward. Tropical storm-force winds will affect the Turks and Caicos islands, as well as the central and southeastern Bahamas. Rainfall from Hanna will also affect the central and southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands. Rainfall in these areas will average 8-12 inches with locally higher amounts possible through Wednesday. Storm surge caused by the winds around the storm will average 1-3 feet above normal water levels. Large, dangerous waves will batter areas where the winds are blowing onshore. Swells from Hanna will cause rough surf and rip currents along the Southeast Coast through Friday.
While the exact future path of Hanna is somewhat uncertain, the storm began a northward motion Wednesday afternoon. Hanna will move east of Florida and the Southeast starting on Thursday. Right now Hanna looks to pass fairly far offshore of Florida, but could still have a few stronger wind gusts near the coast along with some outer bands reaching the eastern coast.
While the most likely area of landfall is early this weekend along the Carolina coast from Charleston on northeast, we continue to explore the possibility that Hanna will recurve more sharply and could possibly graze Cape Hatteras, N.C. on a path that would then continue to take the storm northeastward. At any rate the strength of Hanna at time of landfall is expected to range from a Category 1 to Category 3 hurricane. A path paralleling the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts could result in hurricane-force winds well up along the I-95 corridor in the Northeast. A track farther inland over North Carolina would result in a swath of heavy rain, as well as strong winds spreading northward and inland from the landfall area.
Ike strengthened into a major hurricane as of 8:00 p.m. EDT as a Category 3 and continued to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane at 11 p.m. EDT. Ike was near 22.1 north and 54.1 west, or about 610 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 135 mph with higher gusts, bringing Ike to a Category 4 hurricane. The estimated central pressure is 948 mb, or 27.99 inches. Ike is expected to remain a major hurricane over the next couple of days. Moving west-northwest at 17 mph, Ike is expected to remain on a generally westward path for the next couple of days. Computer forecast information keeps Ike away from land through Thursday. After that, the system is expected to pass close to or even over the Leeward Islands on Friday, then near or over the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Saturday.
Tropical Storm Josephine
Tropical Storm Josephine continues to track westward in the far eastern Atlantic. Josephine is moving to the west at 12 mph and as of 11 p.m. EDT was centered around 13.9 north and 30.7 west. Josephine has weakened this evening as the sustained winds have decreased to 50 mph. A similar intensity or even a slow weakening is expected over the next couple of days.
Another tropical wave is along 62 west, south of 19 north moving west around 20 mph. This wave has caused some showers and thunderstorms across the Lesser Antilles and the eastern Caribbean, but no organized tropical development is expected over the next couple of days.