Hello Hanna

Published 9:39 pm Friday, September 5, 2008

Hanna makes an uninvited visit to eastern North Carolina today (Saturday). Hopefully, the storm will not prolong its stay.

National Weather Service officials expected the storm to make landfall somewhere along the South Carolina-North Carolina coast Friday night into early this morning (Saturday).

Hanna is moving toward the north near 20 mph with a turn toward the northeast and a faster forward speed expected on Saturday. As of late Friday afternoon, the NWS tracking map showed Hanna plotting a course directly over the Roanoke-Chowan area.

The storm, packing winds of 70 mph late Friday afternoon, was expected to weaken as it encounters land. It was also expected to gain forward speed upon making landfall, meaning that it will hopefully pass quickly through the local area.

“We can expect winds in the 35-to-40 mph range with gusts up to 50 mph,” said Charles Jones, Hertford County Emergency Management Director. “It’s going to be a nasty Friday night and a nasty Saturday morning.”

What is most concerning to Jones is if the storm does maintain its projected path, the local area will be in the northeast quadrant of Hanna.

“Being on that side of the storm opens us up a bit more for higher wind and more rain,” Jones noted. “Plus there’s the possibility of tornadoes that sometimes spawn off tropical systems. Most of the time these tornadoes are not very powerful, but a tornado is a tornado….they are capable of producing damage.”

As of 6 p.m. on Friday, tropical storm force winds extended outward up to 290 miles from Hanna’s center.

Coastal storm surge flooding of 3 to 5 feet above normal tide levels is expected along with large and dangerous battering waves.

A tropical storm warning is effect from Georgia to New Jersey. A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected within 24 hours. A watch means tropical storm conditions are expected in the area within 36 hours.