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Hurricane Hanna was the deadliest storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm was the eighth tropical cyclone and fourth hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It formed east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands on August 28. The cyclone struck Myrtle Beach, South Carolinamarker, before moving up the Eastern Seaboard to become an extratropical cyclone as it moved by New Englandmarker into Atlantic Canadamarker early on September 7. The system raced across the North Atlantic, sweeping west of Great Britain on September 10 before turning north and becoming absorbed by a stronger extratropical cyclone between Icelandmarker and Greenlandmarker late on September 12. At least 537 deaths were reported (the final death toll will likely never be known), mostly due to flooding in the northern part of Haitimarker, making it the deadliest tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin since Hurricane Stan in 2005. Hanna also caused $160 million in damages to the U.S, but damage in Haiti is unknown.

Meteorological history

Rainfall from Hanna over Puerto Rico
During late August 2008, a tropical wave emerged off the coast of Africa and tracked westward across the Atlantic Oceanmarker. After several days, an associated area of low pressure gained deep convection and organization. On August 28, while to the east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands, the low formed into Tropical Depression Eight. Later that day, it attained tropical storm status, and as such was named Hanna by the National Hurricane Center. At the time, the low-level center of circulation was partially exposed on the western edge of the convection, indicating westerly wind shear.
 westward primarily under the steering current of a large ridge to the north, the convective pattern began to redevelop late on August 28. Since forecast, models predicted the storm would weaken and move southwestward due to outflow associated with nearby Hurricane Gustav. Despite this, the storm began entering a favorable environment, and was forecast to intensify. An upper-level low that had been producing wind shear moved away from the system, though light shear continued. At the same time, the low-level center once again became separated from the convection, which was primarily confined to a cyclonic banding feature in the eastern half of the circulation. It remained weak as it moved erratically westward while east of the Bahamasmarker on August 30. Due to the influence of Hurricane Gustav's large circulation, Hanna suddenly took a sharp southerly turn and slowed down to drift while located to the north of the Turks and Caicos Islands. On September 1, as Hanna drifted to the south-southwest, convection increased and the storm began to intensify. Later that day around 1:30pm EDT, an Air Force Reconnaissance Aircraft found winds within Hanna supportive of hurricane development intensifying, and presently the National Hurricane Center upgraded Hanna to a hurricane. Early on September 2, strong wind shear in association with Hurricane Gustav began to affect Hanna and the storm was downgraded to a tropical storm on September 3.
Early on September 6, 2008, Hanna made landfall near the South Carolinamarker-North Carolinamarker border. The system became an extratropical cyclone as it moved into Atlantic Canadamarker early on September 7 and raced across the North Atlantic, sweeping west of Great Britain on September 10 before turning north and becoming absorbed by a stronger extratropical cyclone between Icelandmarker and Greenlandmarker late on September 12.


In the Turks and Caicos, streets were cleared and schools and airports were closed ahead of Hanna's arrival. Transportation on and off the Island was stopped until the system lightens or passes.

NASAmarker also announced that the movement of the Space Shuttle Atlantis to the launchpad for Flight STS-125 from the Kennedy Space Centermarker would be pushed up a day due to the threat of Hanna. Amtrak also canceled some train routes that run through the southeast United States.

In Wilmington, North Carolinamarker, the University of North Carolina at Wilmingtonmarker canceled all classes and activities for Friday, September 5th, and Saturday, September 6th, in preparation for the storm, and issued an advised voluntary evacuation. UNCWmarker officially closed at noon on Friday, and reopened at noon on Saturday, after the storm had passed. Specifically Wagoner Dining Hall, Randall Library, and the Student Recreation Center were reopened to students. Classes resumed regular schedules on Monday, September 8th.

Christopher Newport Universitymarker in Newport News, Virginiamarker canceled all class and activities on Friday and Saturday and issued a mandatory evacuation due to fears of a power outage. The College of William & Marymarker and Old Dominion Universitymarker nearby had not made any similar plans. Old Dominion University and nearby neighboring school Norfolk State Universitymarker did cancel classes for both Friday afternoon, and Saturday, due to the possibilities of heavy rain and wind. Two other Hampton Roads schools, Regent Universitymarker and Virginia Wesleyan College, did not close on Friday, but Regent closed completely on Saturday, while Virginia Wesleyan canceled classes on Saturday but otherwise remained open.

On Friday, September 5th, NASCAR announced that they would postpone the NASCAR Nationwide Series Emerson Radio 250 (scheduled to be run that evening) and the next day's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevy Rock and Roll 400 until Sunday afternoon after Hanna had moved north of Virginia. Both races were held at the Richmond International Racewaymarker in Henrico County, VAmarker. With a delay in the storm during the day on September 6, the US Openmarker tennis tournament went on, but was eventually cancelled as the rains came. Nearby at Shea Stadiummarker, the baseball game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies was cancelled in advance of the storm, rescheduled as a day-night doubleheader on September 7.

On Friday, September 5, rural water associations along the east coast and neighboring states prepared staff and equipment to respond to emergencies. Associations activated their mutual aid networks, preparing for the landfall of Hanna and Hurricane Ike while still providing assistance to areas impacted by Hurricane Gustav. On September 5 2008 the Emergency Measures Organization of the Canadian province of New Brunswickmarker issued a warning to expect "significant rainfall" and "localized flooding" on September 7 2008 and September 8 2008.

In Long Islandmarker, power companies were preparing for a minimal hurricane to be fully prepared for the first real test of New York's readiness for a strong storm impacting the region. In Nassaumarker, phone calls were attempted to volunteer fire departments but at the same time, calls were being made to 193,000 residences about the West Nile Virus, slowing down phone connections. Over 800 workers were on standby in case anything were to happen due to the storm.


Deaths by country
Haitimarker 529
Dominican Republicmarker 1
United Statesmarker 7
Total 537

Turks and Caicos Islands

On September 1 widespread rain and strong winds were reported in the Bahamasmarker and Turks and Caicos Islands as a result of Hanna. No major damage or fatalities were reported in either area.Hanna returned to the area and in the Turks and Caicos, floods hit low-lying neighborhoods throughout the archipelago. The popular tourist destination of Providencialesmarker saw considerable flooding in neighborhoods such as Kew Town, Five Cays and the Blue Hills. Also a medical clinic on the Grand Turk islandmarker suffered roof damage.


Storm total rainfall from Hanna in the United States and Canada
Haitimarker, already rain-saturated by Fay and Gustav, was hit hard by flooding and mudslides from several days of heavy rainfall, particularly in the city of Gonaïvesmarker which also suffered catastrophic damage in 2004 from Hurricane Jeanne. Nearly the entire city was flooded with water as high as 2 meters (6.6 feet) deep, and some people had to be rescued on their roofs. In Les Cayesmarker, a hospital had to be evacuated as it was swamped by flood water. At least 5,000 people there were moved to public shelters due to the flooding. The United Nations have ordered relief convoys to the hard-hit region, including rafts to help rescue victims. As of late on September 4, Haiti's government said the death toll from Tropical Storm Hanna had increased to at least 529, with most of the deaths coming in the flooded port city of Gonaïves, where the destruction was described as "catastrophic" and 495 bodies were discovered as of late on September 5. Haitian authorities said the tally could grow once officials are able to make their way through Gonaïves. "The assessment is only partial, because it is impossible to enter the city for the moment", Gonaïves Mayor Stephen Moise said.In the aftermath of Hanna at least 48,000 from the Gonaïves areas went to shelters. Some people slept on the roofs of their house to protect them from looters. The catastrophe has left many homelessbegging for food and clothes. Others had left for the mountains hoping to wait out the next storms on the horizon.People are starting to get frustrated with the assistance that has come. Very little aid has come from international organizations.Bridges north and south of Gonaïves collapsed and the roads are swampy lakes and it is extremely difficult to get to the city by road.

Over a week after Hanna brushed the Dominican Republicmarker, the body of a fisherman who drowned in the storm was found in the Atlantic just off the northern coast.

United States

While in the Atlantic near the Bahamasmarker, high surf and rip currents were produced by Hanna off the Southeast US coast. A 14-year-old boy drowned at John U.marker Lloyd Beach State Parkmarker near Hollywood, Floridamarker as a result of the rip currents brought up by the distant Hanna. Two more deaths were reported off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Floridamarker as they drowned in the high seas. Because of the threat of a medium-term impact on the state and anticipated track of the storm, the governors of Florida,Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland declared a state of emergency for their states and commonwealth. Washington, D.C.marker, along with numerous other state and municipalities activated their Emergency Operations Centers in preparation for the storm. Hanna may have also spawned tornado(s) near Greenville, North Carolinamarker and Allentown, Pennsylvaniamarker.After landfall in the Carolinas, Hanna was at its strongest when its center was just south of New York Citymarker at 11 pm EDT on September 6th, when 60 mph (95 km/h) winds were recorded at the center, however, because most winds past the center were more gusty than sustained, most damage in the area was related to the rain. A 38-year-old man drowned due to rip currents in New Jersey as Hanna approached. Hanna knocked out power to about 32,000 people on Long Islandmarker as it quickly passed through on September 6.


Lack of retirement

Despite being the deadliest storm of the season with a high death toll, the name Hanna was not retired, and is on the list for the 2014 season.

See also


  1. Ocean Prediction Center. Fourteen Day Unified Surface Analysis Loop. Retrieved on 2008-09-15.

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