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HANNA Turns Our Way

September 4, 2008

By LAUREN KING

By Lauren King

The Virginian-Pilot

Tropical Storm Hanna’s projected path slowly crept eastward Wednesday, placing Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina in its cross hairs.

Local and state agencies in Virginia and North Carolina began to prepare, as did college campuses and the Navy.

Farther out in the Atlantic, Ike became the season’s fifth hurricane. It is too early to determine whether Ike will make landfall, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hanna’s projected landfall had been expected near Charleston, S.C., on Saturday morning. But the storm’s track drifted eastward Wednesday and it now appears that it could strike first in southeastern North Carolina, said Lyle Alexander, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield.

If Hanna travels farther inland and into central or eastern Virginia, it is expected to weaken from a minimal hurricane to a tropical storm, bringing heavy rain, strong wind gusts and isolated tornadoes.

If the region remains in the center of the storm’s track, tornado threats could be lower, Lynch said, because tornadoes usually track to the east of a storm.

Hanna has grown larger as it edges north. The top sustained winds were near 65 mph with higher gusts. Hanna could regain hurricane strength today or Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Swells from Hanna are expected to increase the risk of dangerous rip currents along portions of the southeastern U.S. coast in the next few days.

Thirty law enforcement officials from Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries who were sent in advance of Gustav’s landfall have been released and are expected to return home shortly, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

On Tuesday, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced that 13 National Guard members were sent to help with the response to Hurricane Gustav.

Daryl Francis, chief of the Joint Staff of the Virginia National Guard, said in the news release that no Virginia forces would be committed to respond to Gustav that would adversely affect a response to Hanna.

Bob Spieldenner, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said Wednesday that officials have had several meetings and conference calls, but don’t anticipate taking any formal action until today because the storm’s track has been unpredictable.

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley activated the North Carolina National Guard on Wednesday. The State Emergency Response Team was activated to monitor the storm and make preparations as needed.

The Navy has begun preparations, ordering Hampton Roads-based ships to be ready to get under way within 48 hours if necessary. Ships are sent to sea in bad weather because they are more vulnerable to damage from high winds and storm surge if they are moored.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Ike strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane and has been heading west/northwest at about 17 mph, the hurricane center said.

That movement is expected to continue early today, followed by a turn to the west tonight, sending it over open water for the next few days. Top sustained winds have increased near 135 mph.

Behind Ike, Tropical Storm Josephine strengthened Wednesday, with winds near 60 mph . The storm was west/southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

Pilot writers Cindy Clayton, Matthew Jones and Patrick Wilson contributed to this report.

Lauren King, (757) 446-2309, lauren.king@pilotonline.com

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

The latest storm track puts our region in Hanna’s path, but it is not yet clear if the storm will make landfall. Hanna has grown larger, but not stronger, with maximum winds near 60 mph and higher gusts. Hanna could regain hurricane strength today or Friday, according to the latest advisory. USE our Storm Guide to prepare

Let us help you and your family get ready with our hurricane preparation guide. Find information about what to do before, during and after the storm. Also, find information about whom to call in an emergency and what to do if you must evacuate.

Context, Page 15 MORE STORMS ON THE RADAR

As Tropical Storm Hanna bashed H aiti and knocked out power to the southern Bahamas on Wednesday, Ike picked up strength as a Category 4 hurricane right behind and on a path to deliver Haiti another blow. Behind Ike, Tropical Storm Josephine strengthened, with winds already near 60 mph.

Back Page ONLINE

Track hurricanes with our Global Storm Tracker. Get ready for storms with our online disaster guide and learn more about hurricanes with our interactive “In the Eye of the Storm.” Get updated forecasts, photos and news, 24/7, at PilotOnline.com. another storm

Farther out in the Atlantic, Ike became the season’s fifth hurricane. It is too early to determine whether Ike will make landfall, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Originally published by BY LAUREN KING.

(c) 2008 Virginian – Pilot. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.




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