Weather Nerd

Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine

Here’s a three-hour archived radar loop of Gustav making landfall. The eye has now “filled in.” Current view here.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Hanna is strengthening, and could become a hurricane soon. The intensity forecast is very uncertain, though, and it’s really unclear how strong she’ll get. She looks like a threat to Georgia or South Carolina at the end of the week or next weekend, but Alan Sullivan writes:

Models are highly divergent regarding Hanna’s future course. Most runs aim for Georgia or South Carolina. An outlier comes right over me [in South Florida] — a path I find quite plausible. Another outlier brings Hanna as a hurricane over the Carolina sounds and right up Chesapeake Bay, accelerating into an oncoming polar trough. This is also plausible.

Bottom line: everyone from Key West to Cape Cod needs to keep a close eye on Hanna. The strength, track, and forward motion of this storm may change abruptly — and more than once — in the coming days.

And, as if Gustav and Hanna weren’t enough, now we have Tropical Depression Nine, way out in the deep tropics. It is likely to become Tropical Storm Ike, and then Hurricane Ike — and it, too, could threaten the U.S. in a little more than a week.

Finally, a new tropical wave just off Africa could become Josephine. Welcome to the peak of hurricane season.

UPDATE: Gustav has weakened to a Category 1. Meanwhile, Hanna is now a hurricane. Alan Sullivan, blogging from South Florida, writes:

The next twelve hours will be crucial. If Hanna stalls or loops under the impetus of the outflow plume from Gustav, then it will hold offshore long enough to make the NW turn and head past Florida toward a landfall futher north. If it keeps moving SW, brushing the Cuban coast, it may come so far that it will hit South Florida and move up the peninsula. That could be quite a destructive course, since Hanna has the potential to intensify considerably before landfall. By tomorrow shear will dwindle, and the storm’s environment will become optimal, provided it is not so close to Cuba that it interacts with the land.

No matter where it goes, Hanna will be a second mighty distraction from the Republican convention. In a sense, last Friday’s VP announcement was the convention. A quiet vote in Saint Paul, and we’re done.