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NHC watching two storms: Gustav, Hanna
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[Image]
The five-day forecast track from the National Hurricane Center at 11 a.m. Aug. 28, shows Tropical Storm Gustav's projected path.
[Image]
The five-day forecast track from the National Hurricane Center at 11 a.m. Aug. 28, shows Tropical Storm Hanna's projected path.
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Computer models show various tracks for Tropical Storm Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna.
PINELLAS COUNTY – The National Hurricane Center won’t be taking time off this Labor Day, not with two storms making their way toward possible landfall in the United States.

The current maps show Florida sandwiched between the two systems. The only good news is that for now the state is not in either five-day tracking cone.

While everyone’s attention was focused on Gustav, forecast to be near the coast of Louisiana as a Category 3 storm in 120 hours, the eighth tropical storm of the season formed Thursday morning northeast of the Leeward Islands in the Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Hanna is expected to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane within 72 hours.

While it’s still too early to tell with any certainty when or where Hanna might make landfall, the storm’s five-day track does show it headed toward the U.S. east coast.

Emergency officials continue to urge residents in hurricane-prone areas to keep a close eye on the weather. September is the historically the busiest time of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

If the experts are right, more storms will come in the next few months. The NHC is currently keeping an eye on two additional tropical weather systems currently out in the Atlantic.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Aug. 7 an increased possibility of an above-normal hurricane season.

Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray, professors at the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, released undated predictions for 2008 on Aug. 5, which also forecast increased activity in the Atlantic basin for the remainder of the season.

NOAA now predicts as many as 14 to 18 named storms could form in 2008, of which seven to 10 are expected to become hurricanes, with three to six becoming major hurricanes.

Gray and Klotzbach’s latest estimates call for 17 named storms, nine hurricanes and five intense (major) hurricanes. A major hurricane is a Category 3 or above.

An updated report is scheduled for release on Sept. 2.

Eight named storms have formed so far this season. Tropical Storm Arthur impacted the Yucatan Peninsula in late May and early June. Bertha was a major hurricane and the longest-lived July storm on record, lasting from July 3-20. Tropical Storm Cristobal hugged the North Carolina coastline but did not come ashore.

Dolly made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane at South Padre Island, Texas on July 25. And on August 5, Tropical Storm Edouard struck the upper Texas coast.

The sixth named storm, Fay, was a record setter, making landfall four times: in the Florida Keys, on the west coast, the east coast and finally the panhandle. No storm in recorded history has that distinction.

Fay crossed the Florida Keys on Aug. 18 and finally exited the state into Alabama on Aug. 23.

Gustav is the seventh named storm of the season and the third hurricane. It is forecast to strengthen into a major hurricane before making landfall.

Hanna is the eight named storm of the season. If it does strengthen into a hurricane, it would bring the season’s total to four.

For hurricane preparedness information, visit TBNweekly.com’s Hurricane Guide.
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